Great American Products was co-founded in 1971 by Roger Tuttle, the current President and CEO. Initially the company was an entrepreneurial mail order firm selling into to the motorcycle market, and then emerged as a manufacturer specializing in the production and sale of hand crafted pewter buckles, which were sold to specialty shops throughout the country.
At the peak of the buckle market, in the late 1980s, GAP had a customer list of over 5,000 active customers. At that time the company expanded its product line to include miniatures, figurines, paperweights, key chains and lapel pins. GAP was emerging as the leader in the pewter casting industry.
In the early 1990s, GAP made two major changes which have helped to define the company it is today. The first was the attachment of premium metal emblems to drink ware. This gave GAP a full line of products positioned as a premium offering option to the industry standard screen printed products.
The addition of drink ware, including glassware, steins, ceramic coffee mugs, and shot glasses allowed GAP to move from the specialty retail market to the mainstream avenues of distribution including mass merchants, mail order catalogs, department stores, c-stores, etc. The drink ware innovation and the opportunities it presented led to the second move, the entry into the licensed products market.
In 1991 GAP signed licensing agreements with the NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, NCAA and NASCAR. Sales of licensed products have increased as a percent of total sales every year since 1991. As the growth and success GAP has enjoyed in the licensed products market continues, new agreements have been signed with many new licensed properties.
In 1994 GAP entered into an agreement with several individuals from Mexico to form a partnership manufacturing facility for the exclusive production of Great American Products. The partnership located near Vera Cruz, Mexico, employs approximately two hundred people and produces over 100,000 parts per week.
In 1996 Roger Tuttle made the decision to move Great American Products from Chicago to Texas. After scouting several locations for the new facility, the company chose the city of New Braunfels as its new home, where it was warmly welcomed by the community. Calling New Braunfels home has allowed Great American Products to realize a better quality of life; as well as, reduce overhead costs by being in closer proximity to the factory in Mexico.
On February 1, 2002 GAP acquired Fort U.S.A., a fifty-seven year old souvenir company from Providence, Rhode Island. The synergistic acquisition of Fort U.S.A. for 1.25 million gives GAP a valued customer base and a sales representative force with cross selling opportunities of the GAP line of products.
2006 marked the 35th Anniversary of Great American Products; the company realized annual sales in excess of $17 million, and has emerged as a leader in the Licensed Sports industry.
In 2011 Great American Products celebrates its 40th Anniversary. New products are constantly being developed and new channels of distribution are opening up to provide further growth, but one thing that has remained a constant is the dedication and service of its loyal team members.