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A bigger imprint: Cottage Grove's Advanced Sportswear moves to Newport as it looks to expand

Terry Thompson recently moved his Advanced Sportswear screenprinting and embroidery business from Cottage Grove to Newport Center, 1632 Hastings Ave. Bulletin photo by Scott Wente1 / 3
Cole Weise stretches a T-shirt over a silk-screen printer at Advanced Sportswear. The company's move to Newport put all its operations -- front-end retail, embroidery and screenprinting -- in the same space. Bulletin photo by Scott Wente2 / 3
Advanced Sportswear employee Briseida Bueno works on a uniform in the embroidery area. Bulletin photo by Scott Wente3 / 3

Advanced Sportswear owner Terry Thompson said there were a number of factors that led to his business's move, but one stood out.

"It's just a way better location," he said.

After more than 25 years in Cottage Grove, Thompson recently relocated his custom embroidery and screenprinting operation to the Newport Center shopping mall. As a result of the move, he added about 50 percent more production and display space to the shop and expects to see an increase in business opportunities.

Thompson's business finishes sports jerseys and uniforms, school letter jackets and offers similar custom apparel design services to corporate accounts, restaurants and other businesses.

Newport is a strategic location, Thompson said. He said he has few competitors in the southeast Twin Cities area, and sees opportunity to work with more area high school and youth sports teams. Moving just a few miles northwest will help attract customers that would not travel to Cottage Grove for business, Thompson said. Already, 80 percent of Advanced Sportswear's accounts are north of Newport.

"We can draw from so many more areas," he said.

Advanced Sportswear celebrated 25 years in business last year. Thompson's operation was located at 8700 East Point Douglas Road for the past 11 years, but its 7,500 square feet of space was split between two units with a separate business in between. That meant walking outside and going back and forth between the two spaces to conduct business, Thompson said.

"That had a big part to do with it," he said.

Before opening at 1632 Hastings Ave., Thompson remodeled the interior of the nearly 12,000-square-foot space that used to house an archery and bait shop business. He replaced front windows, added new walls, upgraded utilities and made other improvements.

The new space flows better for the operation. A spacious customer service and apparel display area leads into a business office and area that will be used when meeting with clients. Behind another door is the screenprinting room, which flows into the embroidery area. There is more storage and a better layout.

"It's just so much more efficient it's just unbelievable," Thompson said.

Advanced Sportswear employs about 25 people, including 21 full-time employees, he said. If the move proves successful, Thompson said he could hire more workers.

Thompson said his move could be good for other Newport Center tenants.

"We'll draw a lot of business to this mall," he predicted.

Scott Wente

Scott Wente has been editor at the South Washington County Bulletin since 2011. He worked as a reporter at other Forum Communications newspapers from 2003 to 2011.

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