Heavyweight Surfer T-Shirts Made in the U.S.A.

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Small Business Spotlight: Heavyweight Collections

Who: Jay Durkee, @HeavyTshirts

What: Heavyweight T-shirts made in the U.S.A.

When: 1996

Where: San Clemente, Calif.

How: Growing up in Hawaii and California, Jay Durkee and his fellow surfers would wear heavy T-shirts as their adopted uniform during the 1950s and 1960s. The shirts were made by J.C. Penny (JCP), he said, but were no longer available when he launched Heavyweight Collections.

“I felt an older demographic would especially appreciate heavyweight T-shirts,” said Durkee, who runs the business with his wife, Maxanne, and two sons, Luke and Taylor.

Heavyweight Collections ships a variety of shirts all over the country. The business also sells Hawaiian-style shirts and other men’s casual apparel.

The business sold shirts wholesale at first,  but  then shifted to a consumer-direct approach by launching a website in 2006 and opening a San Clemente store in 2009. He added that most stores that still sell his shirts have maintained a longtime relationship with Heavyweight Collections, which saw 136% growth online last year.

Heavyweight’s shirts are made in the U.S.,  and always will be, Durkee said.

Quote from the owner: “I will always stick with made in the U.S.A. It’s important to our customers.”