Custom Threads for Cougs

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Custom Threads for Cougs

Tony Poston, owner of College Hill Custom Threads, critiques a design Tuesday Sept. 24, 2013.

Tony Poston, owner of College Hill Custom Threads, critiques a design Tuesday Sept. 24, 2013.

Tony Poston, owner of College Hill Custom Threads, critiques a design Tuesday Sept. 24, 2013.

Tony Poston, owner of College Hill Custom Threads, critiques a design Tuesday Sept. 24, 2013.

Teresa Lane, Evergreen reporter

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Now sitting on Colorado Street above Valhalla Bar and Grill, College Hill Custom Threads started when one Coug found a way to serve thousands.

CEO and founder Tony Poston started his custom design company when he said he saw the need for a local design shop during his years as a WSU undergraduate.

“It was the college experience, not necessarily the degree, that led me to this career,” Poston said.

He said his experiences in student organizations sparked his interest in event promotion and apparel merchandising. As the ASWSU senate director of communications, member of the InterFraternity Council and as the philanthropic chair for his fraternity Phi Kappa Theta, Poston found the inspiration for his current career.

During his time at WSU, Poston said he remembers an event called “Dry Fest.” His fraternity sponsored the event for which Poston organized and raised $6,000 for the Children’s Miracle Network through shirt and ticket sales for a concert in the Senior Ballroom. This first taste of event planning and merchandise selling for a greater cause gave Poston a glimpse at his future career, he said.

Following his 2007 graduation with a pre-law degree, Poston chose to tour with and create merchandise for bands such as Eclectic Approach. After he offered his services to his fraternity, Phi Kappa Theta, the business took off in Pullman.

Marie Dymkoski, executive director for the Pullman Chamber of Commerce and who orders merchandise from College Hill Custom Threads, said Poston works with customers to give them the best deals available.

“Tony is a capable and successful entrepreneur. Pullman is lucky to have (him) and College Hill Custom Threads,” she said.

Poston said his Pullman clients include Greek chapters, student organizations, local businesses, and events like the National Lentil Festival and First Down Friday.

Since relocating to Colorado Street in 2011, College Hill Custom Threads has grown to service more than 130 colleges in 43 states across the nation, Poston said. He estimated the business completes 30-50 designs a day between the Pullman and Seattle branches.

Preslie Duskin, Seattle branch manager and WSU 2012 graduate, said Poston’s work ethic and passion for the business inspires the rest of the employees at Custom Threads.

“Tony’s personality lights up the room. He has this connection with people, something indescribable, and I think that is what makes him so successful,” she said.

Duskin believes what really sets the business apart is their passion for new trends and their customers.

“When a company is constantly on the brink of what is new, it shows a lot about how much passion they have and that is exactly what we have. Passion for our company and our clients,” she said.

Beyond providing customers with the best deals on the latest designs, Poston said giving back to the community is an vital aspect of their business model.

“(Philanthropy) is a huge pillar of our company. It’s important to us,” he said.

Poston estimates College Hill Custom Threads has donated tens of thousands of dollars to organizations like St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, the American Red Cross and the Humane Society.

The business donates 10 percent of each order, benefitting philanthropic pursuits to a non-profit of the client’s choice.

Brian Blee, marketing director and self-proclaimed office DJ for the Pullman office, said the business’ mission is to provide a positive experience for people.

“We love to give people a product that reminds them of an amazing moment in their lives,” Blee said.

While he hopes to expand, Poston said college students will always be a top priority.

“We’ll never forget our roots though. We’ll always cater to college students first,” he said. “We’re all Cougars through and through.”