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Longmont apparel printing company boosting economy with novelty T-shirts

Kimberly Taylor, of LoCo Threads, has raised funds through the Here For Good LoCo campaign

From left, Lisa Evans of Paper & Pixels Design and Kimberly Taylor of apparel printing business LoCo Threads stand in front of a mosaic mural in downtown Longmont in April 2020. Taylor has created the Here For Good LoCo campaign that helps bring in revenue to local businesses through the sale of novelty shirts. Evans, a graphic designer, created the Here For Good LoCo logo. (Ashlyn Evans/ Courtesy photo)
From left, Lisa Evans of Paper & Pixels Design and Kimberly Taylor of apparel printing business LoCo Threads stand in front of a mosaic mural in downtown Longmont in April 2020. Taylor has created the Here For Good LoCo campaign that helps bring in revenue to local businesses through the sale of novelty shirts. Evans, a graphic designer, created the Here For Good LoCo logo. (Ashlyn Evans/ Courtesy photo)

Prior to the pandemic, Kimberly Taylor ran a booming Longmont-based apparel printing business — Family Fan Club — where she did everything from adorning hoodies for fans of the Longmont High Trojans basketball team to crafting “Drink Local” swag to support the array of breweries that inhabit the area. With multiple events, in-person school and sports being postponed due to COVID-19, her revenue came to an abrupt halt.

Switching gears to help herself and other area businesses stay afloat, she has rebranded her business as LoCo Threads and has organized the Here For Good LoCo campaign — an initiative designed to create a local stimulus package through the sale of novelty shirts.

Sales from the Here For Good LoCo shirts, designed by Lisa Evans of Paper & Pixels, will go to help two local businesses. The novelty tees are part of the Here For Good LoCo campaign started by Kimberly Taylor of LoCo Threads. Shoppers will be able to select a business to support from a drop-down menu prior to checkout. (Kimberly Taylor/ Courtesy photo)

“We had some people laugh and say the T-shirt is a souvenir of these unusual times,” said Taylor. “On the business side, we have received tremendous support and appreciation from every business that is participating, because at this point every little bit helps.”

Shirts are available for $20, with $10 of that each sale benefiting different Longmont businesses and the other $10 kicking back to LoCo Threads and covering the cost of the apparel, printing materials and packaging.

The idea for this project, where the sale of one shirt essentially helps two businesses, originated from The Tiny Little Monster Print Shop in St. Louis.Taylor learned about the concept when the Missouri company posted about it in an online printing community she belongs to.

“From this simple forum conversation, the Here For Good project has turned into a nationwide movement with print shops in at least 40 states participating — and having raised over $1 million for small businesses already,” Taylor said. “As soon as we read about it, we knew this was something we wanted to do because we are crazy about Longmont, too, and we already had the infrastructure for an online retail website and the printing expertise to make it work.”

With the purchase of a Here For Good LoCo shirt, a drop-down menu allows customers to select a business to benefit. There is no fee for businesses to participate. All they have to do is sign up and provide Taylor with a copy of their W-9. There are currently seven general Longmont designs that all participating businesses can benefit from.

“What is amazing, and somewhat unanticipated, is that we see many customers purchasing multiple shirts in one order, but selecting multiple businesses to support,” Taylor said.

Through the Here For Good LoCo campaign, businesses can also submit custom designs with revenue from sales going back to them. Cheese Importers is one of the participating businesses. (Kimberly Taylor/ Courtesy photo)

Business owners also have the opportunity to submit custom designs that only their business can benefit from. As of Wednesday, 16 registered businesses have submitted custom designs. From “God Save the Cheese” by Cheese Importers to The Presser Foot’s “Mask Mania 2020,” the eye-catching designs exude character, charm and sometimes quirk.

“It just makes my heart full to know that I can utilize something simple like my T-shirt business to bring so much good to our community,” Taylor said. “It motivates me to know that with every press of our heat press means I am making money not only for myself, but for another small business in Longmont.”

Art locally

“We wanted an uplifting design that was reflective of our city and its historic Main Street, as well as its iconic view of Longs Peak & Meeker,” said Lisa Evans of Paper & Pixels Design, who created the main logo for the Here For Good LoCo shirt. “I wanted to wrap it all up and giving it a big hug was my thought.”

In addition to helping design shirts for the campaign, Evans has also brought cheer to her neighbors by utilizing her artistry to spread much-needed positivity.

“Everyone has been affected by the pandemic, including our children,” Evans said. “What started as me helping a friend honor her senior with a yard sign, has taken off via word of mouth on Facebook. Creating customized graduate and birthday signs for many hard working students in our community has become a new revenue stream for me. It brings me great joy knowing that I have brightened a family’s day in some way.”

Previously, Evans designed visual branding for Agility Home Group, Best Auto Longmont and Mindset For Success.

“It hurts my heart to see all of the great businesses, restaurants and venues closed due to the stay-at-home order and I want to see them return when this new normal begins,” Evans said. “As an independent graphic designer/website designer, what impacts them also impacts me, so anything I can do to help lift us all up is a good thing.”

The Straight Outta Longmont shirt, part of the Here For Good LoCo campaign, was designed by Lisa Evans of Paper & Pixels. (Kimberly Taylor/ Courtesy photo)

Evans has created a “Straight Outta Longmont” shirt to benefit Paper & Pixels Design, available on the site. She may contribute other designs in the future.

“Our original goal was to sell 1,000 shirts which would equate to raising $10,000 for local businesses and organizations,” Taylor said. “In two short weeks, we have already sold 500 shirts and currently have about 40 businesses signed up to participate in the project. We are welcoming new businesses into the project every day and have no limit on the number of businesses that can participate.”

Given the momentum of the cause, Taylor has a new monetary goal of $25,000.

“Right now we are planning to offer the project through at least May 8, but if the community and local businesses continue to show interest we will offer it indefinitely,” Taylor said. “As long as there is the demand, we are happy to keep the project going.”

Taylor brings a sense of hope to struggling establishments as owners attempt to navigate new ways to provide wares or services while having to remain partially or completely shuttered.

“The fact that LoCo Threads, another small, local business is out there doing the work to offer us some way to bring in a bit of extra money to pay the bills is amazing,” said Alison Zemanek, who owns BreakAway Cycle & Strength Studio with her husband, Paul Zemanek. “We just recently added ourselves to Kim’s (Taylor’s) website and we’ve already sold over 30 shirts.”

From left, Paul Zemanek, his sons Tyler and Nathan, wife Alison Zemanek, and their dog, Scout. The Zemaneks own BreakAway Cycle & Strength Studio in Longmont and have participated in the Here For Good LoCo Campaign by submitting a shirt design to benefit their business during the coronavirus closure. (Alison Zemanek/ Courtesy photo)

While initially Zemanek anticipated being able to open her studio next week, the continuation of the stay-at-home order has resulted in another delay.

“It sounds now like gyms will be slotted to open around the same time as restaurants and bars,” Zemanek said. “We’re anxious to bring our community back together, but we’re also very concerned about keeping our community safe and healthy.  So, when we do open again, we want to be sure we do so in a way that is safe for everyone.”

Hopefully, Taylor will eventually be back to designing custom triathlon tees and team merch, but for now it’s all about delivering revenue to those who need it most.

“It’s a movement to encourage Longmont area residents to throw their support behind the small businesses that make this city so special,” Taylor said. “We want Longmont businesses to be here for good.”


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