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.
The Lott Family
Sharon and Marty Lott
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.
A catalog cover from 1986.
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.
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.