Zephyrhills business dresses Scouts across the country

By Kyle LoJacono

Staff Writer

Boy Scouts of America celebrated its 100th anniversary Feb. 8. The century-old youth organization has seen many changes over the last ten decades, including adding a causal look to their uniform collection.

Boy Scout Troop 12 in Lutz members wearing “Class B” shirts while working outside. The scouts are from left Tyler Wilson, Joey Vars, Jimmy O’Dea and Drew Herridge. File photo.

Boy Scout Troop 12 in Lutz members wearing “Class B” shirts while working outside. The scouts are from left Tyler Wilson, Joey Vars, Jimmy O’Dea and Drew Herridge. File photo.

The “class A” is the formal uniform of Boy Scouts of America, which includes a collared, short-sleeved shirt tucked into either shorts or pants with the scout belt and green socks.

Class B refers to the more causal dress scouts wear when they are not at formal events. The attire includes a T-shirt, Boy Scout shorts or pants and a scout belt.

What many don’t know is that Class B is a clothing company out of Zephyrhills.

“My mother started the company from our house and (she) is still the owner,” said Gregg Hilferding, vice president of Class B. “It started as a hat and shirt company, but we focus on T-shirts now.

“My mom thought there would be a demand for comfortable shirts for youth groups,” he continued. “She knew that a lot of youth groups have expensive uniforms, so she started the company to give the kids an alternative that could get dirty or torn while outside without it mattering too much, because the shirts aren’t expensive.”

The Class B shirts also help keep scouts cooler in the summer.

“I’ve lived in Zephyrhills since I was less than 1-year-old, so I know how the summers can get here,” Hilferding said. “Scouts usually wear a T-shirt under their uniform anyway, so it’s just a good idea to have shirts with the troop number on them. The scouts are going to take off their uniform tops anyway when they go outside.”

Hilferding, who is an Eagle Scout, is also the Scout Master for BSA Troop 72 in Zephyrhills. His father and brother, Robert and Eric, also are Eagle Scouts and his mother, Perry, was his troop’s Scout Master while growing up.

His sister, Carin, was not involved in Boys Scouts, but was a member of the West Wind Neighborhood Girl Scout Troop.

Hilferding said he and Eric, who is the company’s president, do the day-to-day work for Class B, which offers customizable shirt options in a variety of colors.

“In the past, we have ordered shirts for hikes on the Appalachian Trail, for adventure trips and other things we’ve done,” said Robert Jackson, former Assistant Scout Master of Troop 12 in Lutz. “We also just have ones for regular meetings.”

Jackson earned his Eagle Scout award in 1962 with Troop 12.  His two sons, Ryan and Reid Jackson, are also Eagle Scouts with the troop.

Class B ships to BSA organizations across the country and to U.S. military bases overseas.

“We’ve shipped to Okinawa, Japan and Germany,” Hilferding said. “We ship anywhere with BSA groups. The first time we got an order from Germany was amazing because it told me we were really on the map.”

Hilferding said the focus of the business was to serve local businesses, schools and youth groups for about the first 15 years. Then the company branched out to regional and national sales after launching its Web site, www.classb.com, in 1996.

“We are the largest officially licensed BSA T-shirt company and have earned the quality award for licensees in 2007 and 2008,” Hilferding said. “Those are the first two years of the award and we will know if we won for 2009 sometime in March.”

Class B has been helping scouts be more comfortable for the last 27 years, but BSA is nearly four times as old.

The organization was first founded by William Boyce Feb. 8, 1910 when BSA was officially incorporated.

“It’s very symbolic, especially for my old troop,” said Steven Kubasek, Allohak District executive, on BSA’s birthday. “My troop is also 100-years-old this year, so I’ve been anticipating this for 10 to 15 years.”

The Allohak District covers all BSA organizations in Pasco east of the Suncoast Parkway. Kubasek’s troop was Troop 4 in Yonkers, N.Y., where he earned his Eagle Scout award.

“Scouting has been around so long because of the timelessness of the program,” Kubasek continued. “The main goals are the same as they were 100 years ago.”

Hilferding agrees with Kubasek on the meaning of the anniversary.

“My brother, father, mother, and my time in Boy Scouts added together is almost 100 total years of scouting,” Hilferding said. “This is the only time Boy Scouts we will turn 100 and we are all incredibly proud to be a part of it both as scouts and with our business.”

For more information on Class B, call (800) 851-4020.

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