Longtime business man and familiar face to downtown Newcomerstown, Greg Bowman retired after 27 years in the screening and embroidery business.
However, Bowman's first love was teaching. He taught for the Morgan County school district for several years until his brother Ron told him of a job opportunity in the Newcomerstown school district. He taught in the secretarial training position at Newcomerstown and retired from teaching after 16 years.
"I moved here in August and I've been here ever since ... I even married a hometown girl," Greg said.
It wasn't until Ron asked Greg to consider designing and embroidering T-shirts that Bowman Sportswear took shape.
Bowman started his career in the screening and embroidery industry on April 27, 1983, in a warehouse behind Ourant Funeral Home in Newcomerstown. At that time, there was no retail store. But, it would only be a few months later that the building located at 130 W. Main St., which was owned by Tom Hoffman at the time, would come up for sale. Bowman Sportswear officially moved in that summer.
"We've been here ever since," Greg said.
Over the years, Greg said they have had many well-known customers including Iams and Eukanuba official clothing that was given to pet food distributors. They also embroidered apparel for KFC and Steak Escape for Columbus area food locations.
But, it was Bowman's collegiate apparel business that really set the store apart from many other independent embroidery locations. They designed apparel for colleges including Bowling Green, The Ohio State University, Michigan University, University of Kentucky, Georgia, Georgia Tech, University of North Carolina, West Virginia University, University of Cincinnati, Ohio University, Miami University of Ohio, to name a few.
Greg said they would also travel to the NCAA Final Four to display examples of their work. In all, Greg said, they went to more than 10 Final Fours in such cities as New Orleans, Seattle, Atlanta, Minneapolis, Kansas City, etc.
He said Bob Huggins even purchased warm-up gear from Bowman Sportswear.
"In the mid-90s, that was most of our business," he said about the college accounts.
They also embroidered equipment bags for OSU and Boston College.
OAC schools such as Capital, Heidelberg, Tiffin, Muskingum and Mt. Union universities all purchased items from Bowman Sportswear.
Greg said his longtime employee Rick Maloy has been a faithful employee for more than 23 years at Bowman Sportswear. Greg said Maloy knows the pressure of getting items ready in only a few days. He is assisted by Nate Lester who has been at Bowman's for 10 years.
Greg said his employees have been able to produce hundreds of items in short turn-around times. That aspect has allowed Bowman Sportswear to edge-out the major shoe and apparel companies for certain embroidery jobs.
Besides college apparel, Greg said high school and youth league sporting events have also been a major part of his business.
The aspect Greg will miss most in his retirement is "talking with the public, especially when visitors would just drop by the store."
Greg said he plans to stay busy now that Bowman Sportswear has been sold. He plans to help the new owners, maintain his nine rental properties, as well as remain active in the Newcomerstown Rotary Club, Newcomerstown Chamber of Commerce, Cy Young Days Festival Committee and the Knights of Columbus at the St. Francis deSales Church.
"I want to thank all the loyal customers in Newcomerstown for patronizing my business for the past 27 years," Greg said. "We enjoyed being of service to them."