For the last month or so, David Lutz has been organizing food trucks to come into his neighborhood in Clyde, in order to support those businesses by way of his neighbors. This effort led Lutz to contemplate how he could further his support of small businesses in Haywood County. After hearing about similar work his brother was doing in East Lansing, Michigan, Lutz teamed up with Anthony Cooper and Chelsea White of Mountain Awards and Apparel to launch the #SUPPORTHAYWOOD T-shirt campaign. Cooper and White agreed to produce and ship T-shirts as orders rolled in, and to donate half of proceeds to small businesses in Haywood County.
With the team cemented, Lutz began reaching out to small businesses around Haywood County — some of the food trucks he had invited to his neighborhood and others. The first 10 businesses that communicated a positive response are now featured on the back of the #SUPPORTHAYWOOD T-shirt.
“We didn’t want there to be conglomerate businesses, although they do support our community, we really wanted to focus on small, locally owned businesses that have been affected by this [shutdown]” Lutz said.
The 10 locally owned businesses featured on the shirt are: Fuego Food Truck, Waynesville; Papertown Coffee, Canton; Musicworks! Studio of Performing Arts, Clyde; Ian and Jojo’s Pizzeria and Restaurant, Waynesville; Euphoria Tattoo and Piercing, Waynesville; Pig in a Basket BBQ, Canton; Forbidden Color Tattoos, Waynesville; 360 Cell Phone Repair, Canton; Wicked Fresh Seafood and Meat Market, Waynesville and The Strand at 38 Main, Waynesville.
Orders for the T-shirt are currently open until May 15 and Mountain Awards and Apparel will fill orders as they come in. At $22 per shirt, 50 percent of profits will be donated to the 10 businesses featured on the back of the shirt, while the other 50 percent will cover production and shipping costs.
“For this first run, we wanted to make sure that we kept the amount of businesses to 12 or under, to be the most impactful on the give back campaign” Lutz said.
So far the team has gotten a big response to their campaign, with community members ordering shirts via Facebook one day before they were even open for orders. They plan on using this positive response to help small businesses in Haywood County for as long as the shutdown continues.
“We’re going to do this first run and see what the economy does. Obviously if everything is still shut down, as of the middle of May I think it would be beneficial for us to do another run and get different businesses for another go at it. It’s going to depend on what happens with the economy,” Cooper said.
For anyone in the community that wants to help this campaign succeed, buy a shirt and help spread the word.
“The biggest thing right now is just to purchase the shirts. That’s our goal is to get money, to be able to give back. And we will not have money to give back if people are not purchasing the shirts. People can also share it on their social media pages,” said White.
Shirts are available for purchase at mtnawards.com/supporthaywood/. Upload a photo rocking your T-shirt with the hashtag #SUPPORTHAYWOOD.