Flagship Takes Customers Beyond Typical T-shirt Experience

by Felicity Bosk

an Scherber stands by the front counter of his new retail store - Photo by Felicity Bosk
Ian Scherber stands by the front counter of his new retail store - Photo by Felicity Bosk

An old warehouse is now the home of Flagship, a t-shirt creating retail store operated by Duluth Screen Printing (DSP). It’s named not only for its nautical theme, but for being the flagship retail location for DSP products.

Inside shoppers will find an array of t-shirts for sale, and beside them an ipad that lets the purchaser learn about the artist and their process behind the shirt design. 

“The goal is to give each shirt a story,” said Ian Scherber, DSP CEO. 

Each shirt tag will be a color that corresponds with a meaning. If the tag is red, the design corresponds in some way to “heritage.” If it’s light blue, “lighthouse”, green “heart”, and so on with other colors and concepts you can see hung up on their store wall. 

The retail store, located on Lake Avenue, is designed after the inside of an ore boat. The printing press is colored a sea-foam green, the same color as the engine of an ore boat. This symbolically means the printing press is what runs the store, or as Scherber said, it’s heart. 

They are also looking to engage their customers with the rest of the community. They plan to give t-shirts a special code on the tag allowing them to scan it online and get free items or deals at other local businesses. 

The goal of Flagship is to go beyond selling shirts, but to tell the story of that shirt to the consumer and use apparel to instill a sense of community. 

Scherber fell in love with t-shirt design back in high school. Three years ago he and his wife began DSP. Since then they have grown to 12 employees, and they just hired 12 more to operate the new store. In five years, Scherber sees himself expanding his business potentially to other parts of Minnesota. 

“We are made up of really young and motivated individuals creating something unique for the community,” he said. “We’re representing all of Duluth with this store.”

With Flagship being built on the backbone of community, Scherber said he wants to use the space to host mini concerts where the bands can make t-shirts for their fans. They want businesses and groups to come and learn the process of creating their own t-shirts at their store as well. 

“We want this space to be unique and have an inviting atmosphere,” he said. 

They are holding a soft opening on May 24 and an official grand opening later in July.