Things Will Be Great: Welcoming Jupmode to Downtown

Toledo Local Features  |  By Kelly Thompson  |  11/02/2016

A decade ago, owner John Amato decided to launch Jupmode, a screen-printing company that now has an incredible website [] and global reach. Aside from product quality, they’re successful because they have a unique way of doing things, from their company philosophy to the ridiculously soft material in their t-shirts. This month, owner John Amato and his staff will move the business, formerly based in Perrysburg, to downtown Toledo. The grand opening is 6-11 p.m. this Saturday, November 5, giving visitors the chance to meet Jupmode staff and welcome them to the neighborhood. I had the opportunity to ask John about the company’s beginnings, how they’ve grown in the last decade and how to properly pronounce the company name (very important).

— KT

How did Jupmode get started?

Jupmode began in 2006 when I voiced that someone should make a Jim Tressel sweater vest t-shirt. My dad challenged me to take on the task and I did. Going through that process piqued my interest in the idea of manufacturing apparel. It was also really fun. Designing the shirt, selling them in Columbus on game days, and meeting customers that were all bonded by a common interest, in this case a love for Ohio State, was a culture I wanted to be a part of.

Where does the name come from? 

It started when I was in the fifth grade. My older brother, whom I idolized, was given permission by our dad to get his first job. Our dad suggested that mowing lawns would be a great idea for his first entrepreneurial venture. When this began, my brother was working on an all-consuming class project on the planet Jupiter. Thus, he decided to call his business Jupiter Pro Lawn Care. I was proudly appointed as his first employee. We worked outside in the sun, drove a big white truck, and hired all our friends to come work with us. It was a blast!

Years later, I stumbled upon the apparel business with the Jim Tressel Sweater Vest T-shirt and it became popular right away. I needed to come up with a name for my business because I was getting so many orders. I needed a professional platform so I could sell more than just Tressel t-shirts. At the time, I had just returned from living and working in France. I was inspired by the language, so I combined the French word for fashion, mode, with the name of our old family business, Jupiter. This is how the name JUPMODE was born.

That’s why it is pronounced JOOPmode, not JUHPmode.

What aspects of your background, beliefs, or goals contributed to the growth of the company since that time? 

I believe wholeheartedly that a workplace should be more than just a workplace. I believe it is my responsibility to provide a work environment where my employees can find meaning. I want my employees to grow and flourish. I want our customers to know we truly care. I know that Jupmode can make a bigger impact on by focusing on culture and purpose before profit.

How have the company's branding or motives changed? 

Since the beginning we've wanted to make quality apparel that unites people. When people wear a Jupmode shirt showcasing their Toledo city pride they are a part of a bigger movement. They are actively saying that Toledo is a place worth celebrating, whether they're wearing the city's name or they're wearing a shirt that represents some part of Toledo's past. Most of the people wearing our shirts are making it a point to make the city better than it was before, even just having a positive attitude towards a city can create a stronger platform to make change. Not only is Toledo a great place to live, it's a great place to work and grow a company. That mission has and will always stay the same for us.

We've taken this idea of being proud of where you come from and branched out into other cities in the surrounding areas.

What prompted the decision to move to Toledo?

We have always wanted to be in Toledo. When we first opened in Perrysburg, it was the best decision for us at the time. When we grew out of that space, we focused our attention on moving to downtown Toledo. We have been telling people for so long that they will do better in Toledo and we wanted to live that message. The uptown district just felt like a natural fit for a business like ours.  It’s a win-win situation: we got a great building, and we’re able to contribute to the revitalization of this up-and-coming area at the same time.

What are some of the biggest challenges or obstacles Jupmode has faced? 

The challenges that arise with growth have been the most difficult - servicing accounts, scaling production, adding new products and services, managing investment, and hiring and retaining good people.  By remaining focused on our core values, we’re able to overcome each challenge as it arises.

What changes have you noticed in your industry since you began? 

The most significant change in our industry is that customers are using the internet to find screen printers. All screen printers, regardless of size, are faced with the challenge of responding to the importance of social media and the internet.

What sets Jupmode apart?

Jupmode prioritizes diversity and its people, thrives on creativity, and strives to be a great place to work. Our foundation is built on hard work and win-win relationships with our customers.

What has been your most interesting collaboration?

The whole custom side of the business is based on collaborating with clients to create great apparel that they're proud to wear for their events, companies, and organizations. One example of a cool project we worked on was the Team Jason shirt for Jason Finn. We printed them as a fundraiser just before the Old West End Festival. We love attending the OWE Fest every year and make a game out of finding out which shirt of ours is worn by the most people. This year, the Team Jason shirt was an overwhelming favorite. We saw purple shirts everywhere! We have reprinted it several times by now. We print shirts. It's a very simple thing. But when printing shirts can be used to make a positive impact on someone's life, it makes us feel so good.

What else should readers know? 

Jupmode believes you can be a world-class organization in Toledo, put out a great product, and have fun in the process. We also want people to know that we don’t just sell cool shirts, but that we are a serious full-service operation, offering custom screen printing, embroidery, and any type of promotional product you or your business might need.