When he was 23 years old, Bob Hilbert opened a truck-lettering and hand-painted sign business in Colebrookdale Township. There was demand for silkscreen printing in 1972 but eventually Bob’s business started to focus on embroidery, branded merchandise for promotions and custom-designed T-shirts. The automotive racing industry, schools and other business in the town became Bob’s customers.
The business that became known as Bob Hilbert Sportswear had a full department with 95% of designs on apparel and branded merchandise created by his graphics team. Sometimes, customers simply wanted a light tweak on their design but they were generally happy and appreciative of the results.
When Bob and his wife visited the Caribbean, they met with some business owners that require brand and event promotion apparel; so that in 2000, Bob Hilbert opened a sales office with a showroom at Cole Bay on the island of St. Maarten. After 45 years in the business, Bob has customers in at least 75% of the United States including recent orders coming from race track operations in Alaska.
In some instances, designs are provided by customers but the in-house aspect of design including the ability to create new ones upon request has driven demand from customers. Throughout the 45 years that Bob Hilbert has been doing business, he has created fresh designs with quality continuing to improve and prices remaining competitive. No deadline was ever missed no matter how long they have waited for the approval of the order.
Scott Rothenberger, owner of Scott Rothenberger’s Place in Washington Township sees the value of promotional products. He frequently orders t-shirts, hoodies and oversized magnets with his logo for vehicles including canvas totes. Hundreds of canvas bag orders in Rothennberger’s branding color of cobalt blue are printed and given out to clients and fans at the local grocery stores.
According to Bob Hilbert, pens, heavy-duty party drinking cups, water bottles, Frisbees, drawstring backpacks and cooler bags are examples of the promotional products that are very popular among their clients. Also seeing more demand is performance fabric used for t-shirts and pullovers that has better heat retention during winter.