The family-owned company has been making custom shirts in Newark, New Jersey for almost 90 years.
In the heart of the Ironbound section of Newark, New Jersey — a once legendary hub for manufacturing — Gambert Shirts has been a mainstay. The manufacturers of custom shirts started operations in 1933 and have been going strong ever since, making shirts of a wide variety of patterns and styles that are as individual as the person wearing it.
With an emphasis on quality, Gambert Shirts represent a continuation of the mid-sized family-owned manufacturing businesses that were once the mainstay of the American economy.
The company – a 2021 Made in America Holiday Gift Guide pick — got its start when Joseph Gambert, a first-generation American, opened a factory in Newark with the help of his mom. Gambert saw a need for locally made shirts in the city.
“In the 1920s and ‘30s, every city had a custom suit maker, hat maker and shirt maker,” Joseph’s grandson Mitch said in a statement to AAM. “My grandfather…realized there was an opportunity to open a shop in Newark as there was not a ‘shirt guy’ there.”
With this importance of being local baked into the company’s ethos, Gambert Shirts has remained steadfast in its commitment to being Made in America.
“We’ve had lots of opportunities to move off-shore, but never did,” Gambert said. “The people who work for us are members of this community, we get to know them and in some cases their families. This is where we live, and we choose to support our domestic roots.”
Most of the labor at Gambert Shirts is immigrant based, a reflection of the company’s history as the product of a first generation American. “They work hard and have great ethics and values,” Gambert added.
Gambert is not only committed to Made in America in the family business, but in his personal purchases as well. “I also buy American-made cars because I believe in this country and what keeps it going,” he said.
Still, being an American manufacturer is not without its complications. “The challenges are endless,” Gambert said. “But we open the doors every day and we figure out a work-around.”
Take supply chain shortages, which has raised the price of some of Gambert Shirts’ fabric inputs — some of which are imported from high-end mills abroad. “But with good partnerships and Internet resources at your fingertips, we have seemingly navigated these times,” Gambert said.
Overall, Gambert was optimistic about American manufacturing, and his success in continuing his family business seems to provide a source for his optimism.
“This is where we live, and we choose to support our domestic roots, this is a great nation, and manufacturing is a major part of the backbone of this country,” he said. “It cannot become a service-oriented market only.”
We couldn’t agree more. And hopefully, other entrepreneurs can take inspiration from the generations worth of success that Gambert has had, and recognize that the best-quality products like theirs are the ones that are Made in America.
You can pick up Gambert Shirts through the company’s retail partners in every state in the United States. Email them at [email protected] and they’ll point you to the closest retailer.