SanMar History Timeline
What began as a college project by our founder Marty Lott in 1971 is now a company numbering over 3,500 employees and spanning eight warehouses throughout the country. How we've grown and what we've become are key parts of our story. Read our history here and learn about the milestones along the way that make SanMar the company we are today.
SanMar was founded by Marty Lott as a college project from the basement of his parents' home in Seattle, WA. The new company distributed t-shirts, and Marty handled all purchasing, marketing and sales.
Marty hired his first employee.
Moved into a 4,000 sq. ft. rental location.
Purchased a 10,000 sq. ft. facility, grew to 20 employees and installed the company's first computer invoicing system.
The first company catalog was introduced, and SanMar became the first supplier in the industry to hire a group of outside sales representatives.
The need for more space prompted a move into a 30,000 sq. ft. facility in Bellevue, WA.
One employee handles all purchasing.
SanMar breaks a record and takes 100 orders in one day.
Order processing and inventory tracking became more streamlined when the company moved to a completely computerized system.
Order taking was also computerized at this time.
SanMar gets a new computer, the Honeywell Ultimate System.
The UPS Manifest System was installed — prior to this all outgoing orders and tags were logged by hand.
SanMar reaches 50 employees and ranks in the top 5 suppliers in the country.
SanMar Canada opens as a sister company.
Moved to a newly completed 120,000 sq. ft. headquarter facility in Preston, WA.
In June, SanMar reaches 100 employees.
SanMar achieved its first 1,000 order day.
Opened a 125,000 sq. ft. Cincinnati distribution center.
SanMar upgrades to the Sanyo Computer System.
Introduced Port Authority®, America's No. 1 private label brand.
Our distribution center opens in Reno, NV (121,600 sq. ft.), complete with pick-up center and showroom.
Launched the company website, www.sanmar.com.
Began custom catalog imprinting program.
Hosted first customer appreciation party, with more than 3,000 customers in attendance.
Introduced Port & Company®, a budget-friendly private label brand.
An addition to our Preston facility is completed, increasing the building space to 250,000 sq. ft.
Advertising Specialty Institute (ASI) awards SanMar "Imprinted Sportswear Supplier Sales Leader."
Received ASI Counselor Spirit Award for best family-owned business.
Expanded the Cincinnati, OH distribution center to 360,000 sq. ft. and the Reno, NV center to 420,000 sq. ft.
Custom websites are introduced, as well as a showroom fixture program.
SanMar earns Promotional Products Industry's 2000 Imprinted Sportswear Supplier Sales Leader Designation.
Online ordering is launched on www.sanmar.com, with live inventory and freight comparison.
The Catalog and Flyer Wizards launch, allowing our customers to place, track and proof custom catalog orders online.
Expanded into the East Coast with a 140,000 sq. ft. distribution center in Cranbury, NJ.
SanMar employs more than 600 employees.
The simultaneous opening of the fifth and sixth distribution centers in Coppell, TX and Jacksonville, FL brought total warehouse space to over 1.65 million square feet and enabled 1-2 day service to 99% of the U.S.
Introduced Sport-Tek®, an athletically inspired lifestyle private label brand.
Opened the largest imprinted apparel distribution center in the West, with a new 490,000 sq. ft. facility in Reno, NV.
SanMar opens a direct sourcing office in Hong Kong.
Became the exclusive supplier of Nike Golf, the world's most popular brand of golf apparel.
Introduced Precious Cargo®, a private label collection of toddler and infant apparel.
Launched the 'At Home Program', which enabled employees to work from home, eliminating the commute and offering a better work-life balance.
Named ASI Supplier of the Year and received ASI Distributor Choice Awards for General Wearables, Hats & Caps, Shirts and Women's Wear.
Introduced Red House®, a luxury apparel private label brand inspired by the wine country lifestyle.
Accepted as a participating company of the Fair Labor Association (FLA).
Became the exclusive promotional products supplier of OGIO®, a revolutionary name in gear bags.
SanMar affiliate sourcing office in Hong Kong opens.
Marty Lott ranked No. 1 in the ASI Power 50 list of the industry's most influential leaders.
Became the exclusive promotional products supplier of New Era™, the world's largest sports-licensed headwear company and the supplier of the official on-field cap of Major League Baseball.
Won the 2009 PPAI Supplier Star Award for high-volume suppliers.
Won ASI Distributor Choice Awards for General Wearables, Hats & Caps, Shirts and Women's Wear for the fourth year in a row.
SanMar relocates corporate office to Issaquah, WA.
SanMar wins Gold Supplier Star Award from PPAI and several ASI Distributor Choice Awards.
Opened temporary warehouse in Minneapolis, MN area to better serve customers in the region.
Introduced District and District Made, offering relaxed apparel with trendier detailing and fabrics for schools, offices and everywhere in between.
SanMar adds Eddie Bauer, an icon of the outdoor lifestyle for today's modern adventures for both men and women, to its collection.
SanMar wins Gold Supplier Star Award from PPAI and six ASI Distributors Choice Awards.
SanMar expands its presence in Minneapolis and opens a full-scale warehouse for the region.
Adds Red Kap Industrial Laundry products to workwear line.
Launches SanMar Family Values, the core values that are the foundation of what SanMar does every day.
Affiliate opens in Honduras to oversee Latin American sourcing and manufacturing.
Hong Kong affiliate moves into larger space to accommodate the growing team.
SanMar celebrates 20 years of creating want to wear styles with Port Authority.
SanMar opens its eighth distribution center in Phoenix, AZ adding over 300,000 square feet of inventory space.
SanMar opens the industry's largest distribution center in the West – a state-of-the-art facility in Spanish Springs, NV.
SanMar wins the PPAI Supplier Star Award for fourth straight year and earns six ASI Distributors Choice Awards.
Introduces OGIO Endurance performance fitness line for the athlete within.
Adds Bulwark flame-resistant products to brand portfolio to serve the logoed apparel and workwear markets.
SanMar adds lifestyle clothing brand Alternative Apparel.