Shirts Support Businesses

Assistant Editor & Staff Writer

Sporting goods stores in the area have partnered with local chambers of commerce to help out businesses that may have taken a hit during the coronavirus pandemic.

Homestretch Sportswear, with locations in St. Henry and Wapakoneta, is currently offering three small business fundraisers: #WapakonetaStrong, #MercerCountyStrong and #GoldenTriangle while the St. Marys Chamber has partnered with Albert Sporting Goods to start a #StMarysStrong campaign.

Both businesses have an online store available so community members and employees of local businesses will have a chance to purchase a T-shirt with their favorite company logo on the front and the hashtags on the back. 

The designs have been kept simple to maximize the money generated.

“We are running this online store from May 1st to May 29th,” Administrative Assistant Diana Green stated. “All shirts will be pre-order and available for pickup at the Chamber office beginning June 12th.”

Kim Baumer of Homestretch Sportswear said the fundraiser is open to any business within the communities.

“The fundraiser is open to any business within that community and all they need to do is send us their logo for the front of their shirt,” Baumer said. “There is no cost, obligation or minimum orders required. The T-shirt has the company logo on the front and the "strong" logo on the back.” 

For all the fundraisers, the cost of the shirts is $15, with $5 of that covering the cost of the shirt and $10 going directly back to that small business. 

“The businesses can use the money raised to help offset daily business costs, pay employees or some have decided to donate to the food bank or [to help with] school lunches,” said Baumer.

“This is money you can use to pay company bills or payroll with, give to your employees to help them or donate to a cause of your choice,” Green said in an email to local businesses. “It will be your money and every business will have a different goal or vision for the money generated.”

Baumer said they decided to start these fundraisers to help out local businesses and the feedback has been great.

To date, the #MercerCountyStrong fundraiser has raised $15,750, the #WapakonetaStrong fundraiser has raised $8,460 and the #GoldenTriangle fundraiser has raised $2,980.

“The community has welcomed this fundraiser with open arms and big hearts,” said Baumer. “They recognize these struggling businesses are the businesses that have for years sponsored their child's ball team, high school prom, yearbook ads, community park equipment and so much more.  The citizens want to show appreciation in ‘paying forward’ or giving back to those businesses.”

Businesses can participate in the fundraisers by emailing Homestretch Sportswear the logo of its company.