From T-shirts to pillowcases...
Think retail shop when you think of Big Frog Custom T-shirts

By Sheryl Popp - Special to Conley Media

Feb. 28, 2019

Big Frog offers about 20 different T-shirt options, including long-sleeved, V-necked,
rounded-neck, men’s, women’s and children’s.
Photo by Mark Justesen

MEQUON — Big Frog Custom T-shirts and More is a franchise new to Wisconsin. The business is located in Mequon in one of the islands in the Mequon Pavilion shops. It’s owned and operated by Basil and Koretta Bearer and their daughter Brittany Miller, who is the store’s manager. Although new to the state, this location is the 100th in the country.

Basil Bearer was a longtime retail creative director and art director.

“I spent years telling people how to run their businesses. It was time to put my money where my mouth is,” he said.

When he decided to go into business for himself, he wanted it to be something that could involve his family.

“That’s what the impetus was to look into a franchise,” he said. Basil Bearer said he had been looking for franchises and found Big Frog on his own.

When he took capability tests through a franchise coach, the coach recommended Big Frog. Simply defined, it’s a custom print shop, using primarily digital direct printing to garments.

It does not fade. It does not peel. “But we can do many different types of garment printing,” Miller said. “We do embroidery, vinyl transfer, ultra-heat transfer and screen printing. We do the best method for any fabric, on anything that can fit into our printer.”

For example, she said she printed her honeymoon photos on pillowcases. The staff also has done totes, purses, hats, bibs, all manner of T-shirts, sweatshirts, jerseys, polos, tanks and more.

Customers can bring in a design, or have something designed for them based on their idea. Color choices range from one solid color to an infinite number. To really learn about the digital printing process and dive into the corporate thought process, the Bearer team attended a Florida “Frogathon.” “They have formed a really tight network through social media as well,” Basil Bearer said.

Customer service is just something Basil Bearer, Miller and their staff said is fun.

“We hear so many great stories,” Miller said. “We are asked to do a lot of memorial shirts, so we hear memorable stories. We have printed sections for personalized quilts, and even replaced a man’s Honor Flight shirt.”

Basil Bearer and his daughter Brittany Miller run Big Frog Custom T-Shirts with
Basil’s wife and Brittany’s mother, Koretta.

Photo by Mark Justesen

Pushing the ‘big button’

They added that having the big printer right in front of customers as they walk in is unique. Customers are encouraged to enter the area and push the “big button” to begin printing their own order.

Shirts and jerseys are available for purchase in many different styles, colors and fabrics.

“People expect a print shop,” Basil Bearer said. “But we’re more like a retail shop.”

Buying an item in-house is a bonus for people who are looking for quick turnaround. More items can be ordered from their catalog, which is also available on their website. There is never a setup fee or labor fee added to the price of any order.

“It’s amazing how great things have been going,” Miller said. “We opened at Halloween and for both Christmas and Hanukkah, we were kept hopping. We learned a lot.”

“Our customers have been really great about spreading the word,” Basil Bearer added.

“The business community and the Chamber have been extremely helpful to us, too. You really have to visit us to get a feel for what we do.”

At a glance

What: Big Frog Custom T-Shirts & More
Where: 10952 N. Port Washington Road, Mequon
Phone: 262-395-2929
On the Web:
9 a.m. to 6 p.m. weekdays, 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday; closed Sunday