The Face of Veteran Owned
tyler merritt is the face of veteran owned - photo: Miguel Mightgoodridge
Nine Line Apparel Owner Tyler Merritt explained what being veteran-owned means to him, saying, “It gives people a sense that this organization has a value set, the values indoctrinated into every servicemember – selfless service, duty, honor, integrity,” In the military, it’s what he lived by.
“There are bad apples out there, but by and large, I’ve had incredible experiences working with veteran-owned companies for that reason.” Merritt founded the company in 2012 with a mission to apply the values and work ethic he learned in the Army to make his business successful, not just for himself, but for his family and the veterans the company’s charitable arm, Nine Line Foundation, supports.
The company hosts events throughout the year – from 5ks to golf tournaments – to raise money for Nine Line Foundation. They also host the largest tailgate at the Army-Navy football game with Barstool Sports. “The events we do are outlandish, outrageous, and high-energy. We make meaningful memories with our company and fans. We all come together and have a great time to raise money for charity.”
The Foundation raises money for severely injured veterans and their families. “We’re just starting to scratch the surface. There’s a lot of need out there,” Merritt said. “We can’t fill it all, but we do a good job of taking care of those we can help.” Beyond the foundation, many Nine Line employees have their own charitable initiatives. Giving back is a company-wide value, cultivated by the top leadership.
What’s next for Nine Line? “World domination. That’s on the schedule,” Merritt joked. “To grow, obviously, but at a rate that makes sense.” Merritt bootstrapped the company by liquidating everything he owned and pouring it into his work. He’s not interested in growth that outpaces his resources. “There’s a big push to grow the top line, but I like responsible growth. There’s a way we can grow sustainably,” he said. Growing at any cost isn’t the reason he got into business anyway – it’s the people. “Not only the people who work for the company, but the people we work with outside of the company, too. It makes going to work exciting and fun. I get to work with my friends every day.” ninelineapparel.com / 912) 480-4250