Retail store Bulldog in Keene has kicked off a fundraising campaign called “The Great Grey Tee Project.” This campaign is helping raise money for a number of local businesses by selling T-shirts with the businesses’ logos on it. Each T-shirt costs $19 and $10 of that goes to the business of the T-shirt purchased.
Bulldog owner Joe Tolman said the project is supporting about 300 businesses at the moment. Over the course of the first weekend that the project went live, Bulldog sold over 4,000 T-shirts, amounting to $40,000 in funds raised.
“We calculated as best we could what our expenses would be in terms of labor, materials, utilities, all that kind of stuff, in order to produce them,” Tolman said. “We dedicated the $10 for the business and we estimated that it would cost us about $9 for everything in order to produce them, so that’s where the $19 came from.”
Not only is this project helping local businesses in the area, but it is also helping Bulldog’s own staff remain at work during this time.
“The way it’s created is the business that sells the shirt gets 100 percent of the profit, as close as we can, and then the $9 allows us to have our staff working full time so they’re not having to go on unemployment,” Tolman said. “This is normally our busiest time of year, but we’re going to lose an entire spring season of sports and stuff like that, so we were just trying to figure out a way that we could still function and have staff functioning without having to be on unemployment and make less money. So if our staff wants to work, then they can.”
Tolman said that the overall goal of this project was simply to help out the community.
“The goal is strictly to help people survive; it’s a relief effort. It’s basically doing what we could with what we have to offer to help people,” Tolman said. “We have several clients and friends who are shut down, so it was just a manner to be able to help out and to also help our staff.”
After the project kicked off at the beginning of the month, it grew into something much bigger than Bulldog expected.
“It’s definitely much, much larger than we ever anticipated. Selling 4,000 shirts in a week is ridiculous,” Tolman said. “It’s a huge nod to the community; Keene’s a pretty special place and a community’s a special place to be able to do this.”
In fact, due to the success of the project thus far, Bulldog has set up the same project in Vermont to assist local businesses there as well. Different communities from all over the nation have also been reaching out to Bulldog to inquire about how they did it.
“We’ve opened up one in Vermont because we have several clients in Brattleboro and the Bellows Falls area. That’s starting to pick up some steam as well,” Tolman said. “We’ve even been contacted by communities around the country. We’ve encouraged them to reach out to their local printers to try to get them to do it, because it would be awfully difficult for us to establish this type of campaign in a community that we don’t have any involvement in. It just goes to show that people are hearing about it. We’re getting a tremendous amount of positive feedback from the businesses who have no other way of making any money right now, so it’s been fantastic.”
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