College Hype keeps parade crowd fitted in Dot Day fashion

Jessica Stevens, Kevin Benkart, Jack Doherty, Nolan Doherty, and Evan Doherty showing off this year’s Dorchester Day t-shirt and the popular gas tank-themed shirt. College Hype photo

Add to the ‘hype’ of the Dorchester Day Parade with College Hype’s annual Dot Day t-shirt.

The custom print and embroidery business, founded by Jack Doherty in 1987, began in a dorm room at Westfield State University, but has now grown to have a production facility in Weymouth and a retail store and showroom on Gallivan Boulevard. 

“I was at Westfield, and I was on the football team and a couple of the guys wanted to do some funny shirts poking at the security,” said Doherty. “I did a shirt that said “Eat, drink, and get written up.”” 

That college student could have never predicted that the shirts he made for his teammates would lead to several more incarnations, including a spring break and graduation shirt, and eventually an entire business.

In 1990, Doherty designed his first shirt for Dorchester Day and sold them for $10. He has produced one each year since. 

“We get together with the group, we talk about different themes. One of the themes we had one year was ‘Lead, follow, or get out of the way, it’s Dorchester Day.’ We’ve had some really fun shirts and done a lot of stuff for the last 35 years. Now we keep it really traditional, and we just do Dorchester Day with the date,” Doherty told the Reporter. 

This year’s shirt is vibrant blue with white details reading “Dorchester Day 2024 — The Tradition Continues.” 

Doherty added: “We’re basically doing a throwback. It’s a $25 t-shirt but the first hundred we’ll sell for ten bucks. We’re right back where we started, we didn’t forget where we came from.” 

Shirts can be purchased in person at 540 Gallivan Blvd and online at

Even after more than three decades, Doherty still gets excited when he sees parade goers enjoying the day in a College Hype tee. “It’s a great feeling seeing people wearing stuff from 35 years ago. That’s what keeps you going and why we keep doing these shirts,” he said.

He credits his business’ success to the team he has built, including his five children, all of whom work at the store. While he is proud of College Hype sales, he is most passionate about the business’s commitment to working with local charities.

“One of the biggest is the Martin Richard Foundation and the Matt Brown Foundation; those two are near and dear. To be involved not just printing the T, but doing stuff with them is a blast,” Doherty said. 

The business also raised money for the Boys and Girls Clubs of Dorchester with their white gas tank collection. But Doherty’s personal favorite shirt is “the old parishes of Dorchester t-shirt.” 

In addition to Dorchester apparel, the company sells t-shirts, hoodies, hats, and accessories for the city of Boston and other neighborhoods. Current best sellers include the Swayman for President Tee for the Bruins’ goalie, the Southie crewneck, and the gas tank rope hat. 

Additional products and costume orders can be purchased at

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