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My name is Logan Marks. I was born in Morgantown, WV but grew up right here in Garrett County. I graduated from FSU in 2013 with a degree in Economics and after working for the government as an analyst for about a year I realized that waking up everyday and dreading going to work was not how I wanted to spend the next 40 years of my life.
I started a business called Marks Media in 2014, which in short was 10% social media marketing/consulting and 90% commercial video/photo work. For 6 years that was my full-time job and what I assumed would be my career - I traveled all over the US and even outside the US a few times for projects, I had opportunity to film and photograph some pretty awesome stuff, not to mention I worked with and met so many cool people along the way.
One of those people was Michelle Bach, who I met right here at Deep Creek Lake. Michelle owned what at the time was the biggest custom apparel business in our region. Michelle's mom had ran the business for around 10 years and then Michelle had it for almost another 10. I met Michelle in 2015 when she wanted to build a new website/social media and update all the photo/video she had.
I ended up becoming great friends with Michelle and would regularly stop by to hang out with her and her team, mostly to annoy them.
In college I was a server at Uno's on the weekends and in the summer and would regularly have customers ask "where can we get cool stuff that says Deep Creek Lake?" - I never had a great answer because there wasn't really anything outside of your basic location tourist t-shirt. That's when I got the idea, and late summer of 2015 I told Michelle about it, and with almost no hesitation she said "Let's do it!"
A few weeks before that while I was on vacation in FL I had seen a logo for a barbershop that really caught my attention. We were riding scooters and I didn't have my phone to take a photo so when we went into a restaurant nearby I took a napkin and drew the best representation of it that I could.
The chicken scratch on that napkin was what I sent to one of my graphic designer friends the day after Michelle and I decided to make a go at starting DCA. The first idea/concept of a logo that he made from that is the logo you still see today.
In 2016 about a year after we started DCA, Michelle made the decision to sell her business and move away from Deep Creek. At that point DCA was more of an expensive hobby for both of us, and when she left - she gave her half of DCA to me and told me to make it cool. The summer she left was the first year that we put our products for sale at High Mountain Sports, and what a wild summer it was.
At this point my media business was at absolute max, I was normally gone for at least 20 days each month, and I was still printing all of our apparel by myself in our garage. I'll never forget after our first small run of items was dropped off, within 3 days HMS called and told us to bring more... WAY more. I remember spending one night until around 4am printing shirts and then leaving for DC at 8am to be gone for a week. My wife, who worked full-time and was also in her doctorate program even helped and printed a few hundred shirts. We delivered something like 500 pieces to HMS the weekend before July 4th and I still have the email to this day - July 16th they emailed and said they were out of almost everything. We continued this crazy idea and printed in a spare time in the garage what felt like all summer for the next 3 years. In late 2018 I started doing random small orders for friends and businesses that I knew, but it wasn't official and we didn't start marketing it until Christmas of 2019, and we all know what happened next.
I'll never forget when I started seeing stuff about this thing called COVID-19 on social media and TV. I remember asking my wife (Dr.) in early February "what is this? is it really that bad?" -- she said "I don't think anyone really knows yet." Back in those days my winters were slow, so I tinkered a lot in my spare time, mainly on dirt bikes -- most of which I kept at a family friends shop.
I'll never forget the call from my wife. She called me sometime in early March and said "can you do me a favor, can you bring all of your dirt bikes and tools to our garage so you can mess with them at home." All I said was "is it really going to be that bad?" He response was "probably worse." and she said she would call me later and tell me everything.
Shortly after the news starting announcing states locking down into quarantines, and non-essential businesses would need to close. DC and NoVA were some of the first to close so it wasn't long before I started getting calls and EVERY single project I had lined up for spring and summer all were cancelled. So there I was with 6 months and absolutely no work.
Any of you that have met me know that I'm not a sit back and wait type of person. I was not about to sit on my ass for 6mo and hope people starting calling me back for shoots. As summer started getting closer all you heard on the news was Outdoor dining, outdoor this, outdoor that. That's when a light bulb went off and I said wait... I can do retail outside. I can build a small trailer into a screen print shop on wheels and set up inventory under canopies. And in classic Logan fashion I had a brand new 6x12 enclosed trailer within a week, with no idea how to set it up inside, and better yet -- no idea where I was going to park it. After getting shot down by literally every single business from Arrowhead to Slopeside, it dawned on me -- my best buddy Steve Green (owner, HMS) owned a store right off 219. And heres the kicker it was an empty building all summer.
We started out setting up Fri/Sat/Sun. After a few weeks we would show up in the mornings and there would be people waiting for us to set up and I realized that maybe DCA was a better idea than I realized. The next summer we ditched the trailer and went full send -- we rented the entire building off Steve for the summer, and what a summer it was. At this point our name was out there and our custom orders were growing even though we advertised it very little (mostly because finding inventory on blank apparel was similar to hunting unicorns in the dark) -- at the end of that summer I finally had made my mind up and accepted that Marks Media would still exist, but DCA was my career now. I hunted and hunted for a full-time location and ended up in the retrofitted office that you see us in today. Its quirky, but it works and we still lease the HMS building every summer - so when we need a ton more space we have it.
In 2020 we had no employees and not including our brand we did about 500 pieces of custom apparel.
In 2021 we had 2 employees and not including our brand we printed around 5500 pieces of custom apparel.
In 2022 we had 4 employees and not including our own brand we printed just over 10,000 pieces of custom apparel.
In 2023... well, come see us and let's make this story a good one.
This start. Christen is actually wearing the very first shirt we ever printed in the photo, and printing the very first run of DCA tees ever - if you were curious the very first run we did was all Comfort Colors tees, and we did the colors: kiwi, melon, island reef, and white.
DCA on Wheels. This was the Labor Day weekend sale that I did to close out my first year of in-person retail. Kind of crazy to think what this little trailer started.
Taken October 20, 2021. This was the close of our first season with our own shop. This was also about 2 weeks before we found and moved into our current year round location.
I ran on 3-4hrs of sleep for about a week. Retrofitting an office into a shop wasn't something I would highly recommend, but we pulled it off and officially opened our first location that wasn't seasonal on Wednesday November 24, 2021.
It really is crazy to think 2.5 years prior to this I was working out of a 6x12 trailer selling only our apparel on the weekends. We have the shop completely dialed in now and even though there isn't much space, we make it work and love our quirky little home.
We can't thank all of you enough for supporting our brand and for trusting us with yours!
Used to be fun. Now has kids, is old, knees/joints are failing, hair leaves much to be desired, and rides an old man motorcycle to work in attempt to remain relevant.
Steve started working for us in 2020. He's green. He works harder than everyone and never takes breaks - he's really not a fan of rain though
Carlee was our very first employee back in the summer of 2020 when our "shop" was an enclosed trailer and a few EZ-Ups.. and it rained what seemed like everyday. Not to fear though, she still complains just as much. Spends the majority of her time telling all of us how she needs a brand new Range Rover.
Claims she's 5' tall (jury is still out) and complains she's cold 101.89% of the time.
Makes all of us listen to music we've never heard of, and makes jewelry that's cooler than the other side of the pillow.
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Deep Creek Apparel
21287 Garrett Highway, Oakland, Maryland 21550, United States
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