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Group of local entrepreneurs launches custom T-shirt company

Wednesday, May 14, 2014 | 1:41 p.m. CDT; updated 7:09 p.m. CDT, Wednesday, May 14, 2014
Fast Yeti Tees specializes in custom T-shirts and embroidery, but also sells custom hats and polos. Reid Lyle, Jordan Roudenis, and Ryan Montgomery, began preparing their shop space in February. The business opened in April.

COLUMBIA — If you see a yeti wandering through Columbia, don’t panic.

He's not dangerous, just a man wearing a costume as part of the marketing campaign for Fast Yeti Tees, a custom T-shirt shop that opened its doors in The Broadway Shops at 2703 E. Broadway on April 8.

After more than 13 years of professional design and marketing experience, Reid Lyle created Fast Yeti Tees. Fast Yeti Tees specializes in custom T-shirts and embroidery, but also sells custom hats and polos.

Lyle runs the company alongside production manager Jordan Roudenis and sales manager Ryan Montgomery.

Starting in February, the three co-workers began to ready their future store, stripping out old carpet and building shelves by hand.

“We all contributed to every aspect of it,” Lyle said. “We all have an interest in apparel. We all have an interest in humor. We all have an interest in design.”

Lyle, who graduated from MU with a degree in advertising, wanted to ensure that the company's brand name was memorable and fun.

“Fast Yeti seemed to kind of embody that,” Lyle said. “It’s interesting. It raises questions. It’s curious.”

The partners came up with the character of Freddie the Yeti, a heroic mulberry forager born in the hills of the Ozark Mountains. As the story goes, Freddie headed north to Columbia, where he met Lyle, Roudenis and Montgomery, and convinced them to open a custom apparel shop.

Throughout the week, Freddie can be seen roaming the streets of Columbia. Customers who are lucky enough to capture a photo of him are rewarded with a discount.

“It’s a real yeti, not a human in a costume,” Montgomery said jokingly. “That’s a common misconception.”

Working with his friends is one of the perks of the job for Montgomery.

“My favorite part is probably these guys,” he said. “It’s a really fun atmosphere.”

Supervising editor is Brian Kratzer.


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