State Forty Eight aims to celebrate Arizona pride, community

Stephen Polando (left), Nicholas Polando and Michael Spangenberg founded State Forty Eight in 2013. (Alexa D'Angelo/Community Impact Newspaper)
Stephen Polando (left), Nicholas Polando and Michael Spangenberg founded State Forty Eight in 2013. (Alexa D'Angelo/Community Impact Newspaper)

Stephen Polando (left), Nicholas Polando and Michael Spangenberg founded State Forty Eight in 2013. (Alexa D'Angelo/Community Impact Newspaper)

Image description
(Alexa D'Angelo/Community Impact Newspaper)
Image description
(Alexa D'Angelo/Community Impact Newspaper)
When Michael Spangenberg, Stephen Polando and Nicholas Polando started State Forty Eight in 2013, they were operating out of a spare room in a house in Chandler. Seven years later, the trio has expanded State Forty Eight to two locations—one in Phoenix and one in Chandler—not to mention the hundreds of partnerships they have with local municipalities, sports teams and schools.

The business creates specialty shirts, hats, stickers and jackets, but Spangenberg said State Forty Eight is about much more than selling T-shirts and hats.

“We are a fan of representing Arizona with pride,” Spangenberg said. “It’s so much more than just a product to us.”

Spangenberg said he had always had an entrepreneurial spirit and a love of clothing.

“Back-to-school shopping for clothes was my favorite thing,” he said.


Stephen and Spangenberg had been friends since elementary school, and when Stephen pitched the idea of a clothing company rooted in a love of Arizona, Spangenberg knew this was the business he wanted to help create.

Stephen asked his brother, Nicholas, to create the company’s first logo, and from there, the owners said, the company took off.

“It’s surreal; we never really expected it to be what it is now,” Stephen said.

Nicholas said the last seven years have been exciting, but there is even more the business wants to do.

“There are so many cool opportunities out there,” Nicholas said.

State Forty Eight brand clothing items are now available at the Chase Field Team Shop, the Phoenix Suns Team Shop and plenty of other retailers, including some casinos, across the Valley.

The owners said they also make an effort to have philanthropic partnerships in which proceeds go to a nonprofit. One of the company’s shirts is designed for first responders, and proceeds go toward former Diamondbacks player Luis Gonzalez’s nonprofit, Gonzo’s Hometown Heroes Fund. The company also has plenty of partnerships with local cities.

“We started by all buying in with $400 each guy, and to see where we’ve ended up so far is really emotional for us and hard to put into words,” Stephen said.
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