SanMar History Timeline



Intro

1970-1979

1980-1989

1990-1999

2000-2009

2010-Present

Introduction


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 Family
The Lott Family

1970-1979

Marty and Sharon
Sharon and Marty Lott
1971
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.
1974
Marty hired his first employee.
1975
Moved into a 4,000 sq. ft. rental location.
1977
Purchased a 10,000 sq. ft. facility, grew to 20 employees and installed the company's first computer invoicing system.
1979
The first company catalog was introduced, and SanMar became the first supplier in the industry to hire a group of outside sales representatives.

1980-1989

SanMar Catalog
A catalog cover from 1986.
1980
The need for more space prompted a move into a 30,000 sq. ft. facility in Bellevue, WA.
1982
One employee handles all purchasing.
1983
SanMar breaks a record and takes 100 orders in one day.
1984
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.
1986
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.
1987
SanMar reaches 50 employees and ranks in the top 5 suppliers in the country.
1989
SanMar Canada opens as a sister company.

1990-1999

SanMar
The Lott Family
1990
Moved to a newly completed 120,000 sq. ft. headquarter facility in Preston, WA.
In June, SanMar reaches 100 employees.
1992
SanMar achieved its first 1,000 order day.
1994
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.
1995
Our distribution center opens in Reno, NV (121,600 sq. ft.), complete with pick-up center and showroom.
1996
Launched the company website, www.sanmar.com.
1997
Began custom catalog imprinting program.
1998
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.”
1999
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.

2000-2009

SanMar
Groundbreaking on the expansion of the Cranbury, NJ distribution center.
2000
Custom websites are introduced, as well as a showroom fixture program.
SanMar earns Promotional Products Industry’s 2000 Imprinted Sportswear Supplier Sales Leader Designation.
2002
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.
2003
SanMar employs more than 600 employees.
2004
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.
2005
Opened the largest imprinted apparel distribution center in the West, with a new 490,000 sq. ft. facility in Reno, NV.
Introduced District Threads®, a trendy youth apparel private label brand and CornerStone®, a durable workwear private label brand.
SanMar opens a direct sourcing office in Hong Kong.
2006
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.
2007
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.
2008
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.
2009
Opened new 525,000 sq. ft. distribution center in Jacksonville, FL and 585,000 sq. ft. distribution center in Dallas, TX.
Won the 2009 PPAI Supplier Star Award for high-volume suppliers for the second year in a row.
Introduced Columbia Sportswear, a leader in active outdoor apparel.

2010

SanMar
The Lott Family
2010
Won ASI Distributor Choice Awards for General Wearables, Hats & Caps, Shirts and Women’s Wear for the fourth year in a row.
2011
SanMar celebrates its 40th anniversary in style with a party for employees and customers.
Opened 800,000 square foot warehouse in Robbinsville, NJ, more than doubling inventory space in the region.
Marty Lott named Counselor's Person of the Year.
2012
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.
2013
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.
2014
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.