So often these days, we're deluged by news of what isn't working in our economy. It can get downright depressing, but here in the Cape Fear, all is not doom and gloom. For a business that hangs by a thread, this one is quite successful. Set far back from Marstellar Street in Wilmington, you'd be hard pressed to find it. There are no signs outside or anything to attract your attention. The world headquarters for Queensboro shirts is about as unassuming as you can get. And that's quite by design. "You won't see any Taj Mahal marble bathrooms in any company I ever run. It's all about trying to keep your costs down, your flexibility so you can survive any situation that's thrown at you,” said Fred Meyers, Queensboro president. At Queensboro, they do custom embroidery on shirts, hats, jackets and just about anything else you can put a needle through. Success rule number one at Queensboro? "Well the main thing is you gotta take care of your customers. That's the bottom line,” Meyers said. "We do the small runs,” added sales manager Corey Crewswell who said their customers are often the little guy. The minimum order is four shirts. The little guy and the big can be fiercely loyal when he's treated well and gets good value. That's how this business has been built -- first by phone and mail order, and now online. You won't see any suits and ties at Queensboro shirts, not even on the boss. "I like working here. It's kind of laid back,” said Queensboro employee Nicky Brooks. There are 153 people that work at Queensboro, a work force that has held pretty steady. Fred Meyers still considers this a small business, but it's about to get bigger. By May, Queensboro will expand into this 30,000 square foot building next door. Why in the world would you expand in this economic climate? Meyers sees opportunity amidst the dark clouds. "As the economy decentralizes, when you see these big companies that seem too be breaking into bits. These are a lot of smart people and they're going to go out and start small businesses. And we feel these people are going to be customers for our products. They need those custom shirts. They need those custom shirts." And Wilmington’s Queensboro shirt company wants to be ready when they do. Meyers said a key to Queensboro's increasing revenue has been the company's embrace of an internet business model. The vast majority of business comes via the queensboro.com website.
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