It all began when Bob and Chris (former teachers) started selling high quality educational manipulatives, early childhood classroom furniture, and rubber stamps to schools and child care centers. They later expanded to clothing for educators. Bob was successful in coming up with sayings and designs for almost all the artwork. A screen printing company printed Custom Shirts for them. When those designs became very popular, they realized that this was where the future of the company was headed. They discovered applique and transfers as additional decorating methods and had several custom designs created. This necessitated purchasing heat presses and brought production in-house.
In 1995, they eliminated the non-apparel products and began using the name A+ Images. Their primary focus included school-based designs for teachers and support staff as well as custom designs for entire school staffs.
In 2003 they decided to gamble on adding rhinestones to their decorating methods. They started with simple text in one-color designs. This evolved into designs featuring kids and text done in as many as 15 stone colors and sizes. These designs totally set A+ Images apart from competitors. An ecommerce website launched, and they began to sell and ship their teacher shirts all over the world.
During the next few years they grew the business by developing two new areas. First, they began offering Classroom Faces Custom Shirts for schools. These unique shirts featured drawings made by the students and then screen printed on t-shirts. Then, in 2006, A+ Images became a Kiwanis International licensee. This allowed them to expand their shirt and garment offerings even more. A+ Images now offers a full line of licensed Kiwanis apparel that can be purchased on their website.
Doug (Bob & Chris’ son) had worked in the family business throughout his school years. After college he began to work full time in various capacities. He eventually headed up a location in Mooresville, IN. There, he produced their popular Classroom Faces Custom Shirts, while Bob & Chris operated a location in Crown Point, IN producing the teacher and Kiwanis shirts.
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A view of the front door to A+ Images from the parking lot.
To streamline operations, reduce expenses, and lower production times, the two locations were consolidated in 2010. A+ Images is now located in an 8600 sq. ft. facility on the southwest side of Indy. Since they weren’t open to the public, their hidden location didn’t matter. They continued to sell directly to teachers and Kiwanians in their niche markets. They added two cutters to allow them to do vinyl and simple custom rhinestone designs. A new sublimation printer was purchased to offer an additional garment decorating method.
In 2013, the business expanded when staff and new equipment were added. This included an embroiderer and graphic designers, along with two Kornit digital printers (DTG) and two single-head Tajima embroidery machines. The new equipment provided the opportunity to open their doors to all types of customers, instead of only the two niche markets previously served. A+ Images evolved into a full-service garment decoration business and was now set to compete for local business.
The new staff and equipment really helped set the business apart and has allowed for quality service and products with fast turnarounds. DTG and screen-printing have limited the use of transfers, while embroidery replaced the use of applique.
In 2015, they upgraded from manual screen-printing presses to an all-electric Anatol Volt press. The Volt, combined with a high-end digital screen maker, resulted in much shorter setup times and fewer printing issues. Output and print quality increased dramatically.
In 2018, a state-of-the-art six head Tajima embroidery machine was added to increase productivity and quality. Additionally, a Roland printer/cutter and Seal laminator were added to expand print offerings for apparel printable vinyl and glitter vinyl and expand into the sign market. In addition to apparel decorating, A+ Images now offers a variety of sign products such as banners, decals (for walls, floors, windows, and concrete), stickers, posters, photographs, and more.
On December 31, 2019, Bob and Chris retired. On Jan 1, 2020, Doug took over the business.
Aplusimages.com is the main company website; however, it links to additional information and product sites such as Classroom Faces, Kiwanis Apparel, an online designer, online catalog sites from Alphabroder and Sanmar, and, of course, teacher shirts.
The team at A+ Images has decades of combined experience in the printing industry. With their wide variety of in-house services, experience with their own clothing lines, and printing and product knowledge, they can surely help you find the right decorating method for the job. Whether you are looking to brand your business, start a clothing line, get Custom Shirts for an event/gift/giveaway, or make a welcome-home sign for a returning loved one, A+ Images can help. No minimums and fast turnarounds make A+ Images your one-stop-shop for apparel and signage needs. Contact them to get started on your custom apparel or sign project today!