Solving Stadium Apparel Problems One Customer at a Time - Member Spotlight

Dan Mendelson, president, Unitex Direct, likes to tell a story from his engineering days to explain his approach to working with customers.  Mendelson begins: “In engineering school, I built balsa wood bridges by hand, researching every detail to ensure a strong structure.  Every beam and every bolt of the wood model had to be analyzed for strength.  Working with a customer to solve a problem is a bit like building a bridge; you have to consider every possible scenario.  If you do, the bridge to the customer's apparel program will be solid. You'll also have the building blocks to a relationship, and hopefully, a customer for life.”      

Problem solving is the Unitex Direct credo, its mantra since it opened its doors in 1992.  The company is a full-service uniform provider to many market segments, including the stadium and security industries.  Currently, Unitex Direct is the supplier of choice to 36 stadiums, including the NFL, NBA, MLB and many college stadiums throughout the country.

“Tackling a complex situation is never a burden,” Mendelson added.  “Maybe it's the engineer in me, but I actually have fun solving a customer's problem. I'm thinking about the specifics in my head, the logistics behind the solution before I'm even off the phone.” 

It is a mindset that has served Unitex Direct well in its 28 years.  A mid-sized company by industry standards, Unitex Direct is growing, a modern-day David vs. Goliath whose unmatched level of personal service has coaxed business away from some of the market's larger players.      

Mendelson credits an acute understanding of the supplier/customer relationship for Unitex Direct's success.  “You don't have a customer until they have a problem; how you solve that problem will determine whether you have a one-shot customer or have built a relationship.”  

Whether you need 3000 shirts in five days, a midnight delivery of uniforms to your stadium, or an out-of-the-box look for your luxury box arena staff, Unitex Direct has the experience in providing quality uniform solutions.  Let's take a better look at how Unitex Direct applies those solutions in the event staffing and security marketplace.

Saying Yes When Others Say No

Stadiums provide guests with everything they need to enjoy a seamless experience, paying close attention to every detail, including the uniforms worn by staff. No mere afterthought, uniforms are an integral part of the fan experience; they're how the public identifies who is in charge during a crisis.  
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Most of the time, event security managers will have their employee apparel program in place well before game time.  But what if you've just received a last-minute contract from a stadium management team for next Sunday's NFL game?  Would you be able to fulfill the contract?

That's the problem that greeted Unitex Direct early one Monday morning.  “We received an urgent email from an event security manager who needed thousands of shirts, jackets, hats and vests printed and embroidered in just five days.” Mendelson explained.  “Could we get it done on time?”   

Filling such an order in a short time span is no small task, and many would have declined the business.  Uniforms, after all, are not off-the-rack ready to wear garments.  They are specially constructed and designed to project image and enhance a brand.  Getting the right look requires time, effort and a commitment to solving a customer's problem.

Undaunted, Unitex Direct took the order.  The team went into overdrive, getting the shirts, hats and jackets in the right colors, and printed and embroidered logos on thousands of garments, shipping in time to arrive before game day.

This was not the customer's first order with Unitex Direct, but it was the one that left a lasting impression.  “I call you because you make the impossible, possible,” the event security manager commented to Mendelson.  “When others say no, you always say yes.”

Delivering a Game Day Look at the 11th Hour

The willingness to go above and beyond to solve a customer's problem is critical to a successful venue apparel program.  So too, is the knowledge and expertise of the supplier, as the following reveals.

There are not many things you can get delivered to your doorstep at midnight.  Turns out uniforms are one of those things.

Several years ago, Unitex Direct supplied uniforms for students who worked at the stadium during the University of Michigan's football games.  

A Unitex Direct team member met with college reps to determine their needs.  The uniforms were to be readily identifiable, functional, practical and durable, able to withstand notorious Michigan winters.

The winning look consisted of a polyester polo embroidered with the University of Michigan Student Security logo, and a 3- in-1 water-and-wind resistant jacket with a detachable fleece liner.  A yellow and black color theme complimented school colors and helped increase brand awareness. 

With a final decision coming at the 11th hour, the uniforms were delivered – at midnight – before the first game.     

A Major University Program Built on Reputation4074 903 2

It is this reputation as a supplier who delivers at all costs that helped Unitex Direct capture new business from one of the industry's leading events services providers, Contemporary Services Corporation (CSC).

CSC was looking for an apparel program for a major university in Southern California that opened a $500,000,000 facility. Mendelson had never worked with CSC before, and wanted an opportunity to bid on the business. When he ran into someone who knew CSC's President, Jim Granger, he asked for an introduction.  “Although he hadn't worked with me, he knew my reputation and the referral was made,” Mendelson said.    

CSC had suppliers already lined up. But they went with Unitex Direct based on its ability to provide an alternative to the typical approach.  The resultant look is an out-of-the-box, smart apparel program well-suited to those who patronize the facility.   


The Bottom Line: Service

From the start, Unitex Direct identified a troubling pattern for uniform buyers: lack of on-time delivery, poor quality and poor communication by uniform providers was rampant.  Mendelson was determined to do better.  To solve problems others shunned.  To provide a level of service that simply did not – and does not – exist in many larger apparel companies.     

Mendelson believes his relationship with customers is actually a partnership, and he backs up that philosophy with a guarantee.  If anything a customer buys does not meet expectations, it will be replaced. 

Because to build a bridge – and a relationship – you have to be willing to solve whatever problem arises. 

Want to discuss solutions to your stadium apparel problems?  You can contact Dan at

Learn more about Unitex Direct by visiting