HOUSTON – When is a T-shirt more than just a T-shirt? How about when the print shop behind it is helping to turn a gang member into a future business owner.
“I was getting into all kinds of trouble. Gang banging, selling drugs, like all that type of stuff,” said Markell Rodgers.
Then, six months ago, Markell's mom convinced him to get a job at The Print Boxx.
“When it was first came about to me, for my mom I was like, 'OK shirts, T-shirts, not a big deal to me.' But after I came up here and met him, he showed me everything and what to do and everything how everything processed, I kind of fell in love with the business,” Rodgers said. “I'd rather be selling shirts than be selling drugs now. Honestly.”
You see, the owner prefers to be called the “general manager."
"I don't like to say, 'owner,' cause I feel like we a team, it's Team Print Boxx,” said Ty Hampton, who is more than familiar with that lifestyle. “I come from a poverty stricken area and a lot of times we reach out to just think we could do illegal things.”
In fact his is also a story of turning things around. Seven years ago he was unemployed and moved to Houston. A few years later he took a leap into printing.
“We bought a printer, bought a small heat press and we started in the back of my brother's barbershop, three going on almost four years ago,” Hampton said.
Now, he's helping others, like Rodgers, find the same change.
“I was once told if you're around nine drug dealers you'll be the 10th one. If you're around nine business owners and entrepreneurs then you'll be the 10th one,” Hampton said.
“I'm still in the learning process thanks to Hampton, but hopefully, after all the stuff that he just showed me, I kind of want to open up my own print shop,” Rodgers said.
You may have a Print Boxx shirt in your possession. Hampton and company were lucky enough to contract with two recent Taylor Swift events, including one in Houston during the Super Bowl festivities.