“At 16 years old, I started by selling stuff for skateboarders out of my trunk,” says Jerry Wilson of The Wub Store located at 108 N Michigan Avenue in Old Town Saginaw.
“The only place in town that carried boards was Play It Again Sports, and they were selling stuff you could buy for cheap and in bulk on eBay for high prices. I cut them out and bought the stuff on eBay myself. We’d pull up to the skate park and sell it for a little bit extra.”
Selling skateboard out of his trunk eventually led Wilson to making a batch of skateboard wheels.
“But I didn’t have a lot of money, there wasn’t any way to market it, and I didn’t know how to grow that business,” he says.
Wilson was in college for business and graphic design when things clicked.
“I wanted to make clothes, so in 2012, I officially started Wub.”
So, what exactly is “Wub”?
“‘Wub’ means “love”,” says Wilson. “Before emojis, there was a website called Skate Perception. It was a forum for filmers, graphic designers, and the artists behind skateboarding. There was a face you had to code in, which was basically the heart-eye emoji, but it was called the Wub face. So we’re made with Wub, made with love.”
Their new location on Michigan Avenue is lined with made-with-love apparel Jerry and employee Joe Seymour design, stitch, and embroider in-house. Much of their clothing is Saginaw-inspired, featuring the “Beans” logo, the area code “989”, and text like “Saginaw is Lit.” Wilson says the clothing line not only connects with the pride people have from living in the area, but it also acts as a gateway into the other side of Wub, custom embroidery.
“The embroidery started because we started dabbling in the business of helping other brands grow,” Wilson says. “Branding is everything, so we started helping other brand do things with an original feel and help them connect the dots.”
Wilson started contracting out embroidery work for other brands.
“That gave me the confidence that if we got an embroidery machine and learned how to do it ourselves, we had the business for it. We could keep the money in-house and grow.”
The Wub Store is open Monday through Thursday from 11am to 6pm, and Friday and Saturday from 11pm to 8pm.