The Camas Shirt Project, which launched in April, has raised nearly $5,600 in profit, which will be distributed to several local businesses this week.
“The concept was to raise funds for downtown Camas businesses that were either shut down, getting shut down, or only able to partially function,” said Joseph Graves, a local business owner who helped coordinate the effort. “We started in March with this great idea that came from Mel Locke.”
To date, the Camas Shirt Project sold 722 shirts, of which 598 were sold online, and 124 were sold by local merchants.
Locke owns Universal Martial Arts, and after witnessing how quickly local businesses were shuttered beginning March 16 because of the coronavirus pandemic, he decided a fun T-shirt project would be a good way to help out.
“Camas supporters did come out and we see a lot of people wearing the T-shirts, especially on Fridays,” said Locke. “The goal was to sell 20,000 shirts, and I think my expectations were too high. It was hard when some of these businesses couldn’t open for 90 days.”
The monetary distribution happens this week, and participating businesses simply needed to fill out a final form to get their share.
“We are so fortunate to have people in our community helping out our downtown businesses navigate this pandemic,” said Jennifer Senescu, Executive Director of the Camas-Washougal Chamber of Commerce. “Not only have they raised significant funds, they’ve raised morale. They are helping to keep morale high.”
“This has grown to Happy Valley, as well,” said Graves. “It’s a good idea, and we’ve made improvements to make sure fulfillment and printing are totally dialed in.”
The shirts were initially printed at Printforia, but are now printed at Print Lab in Washougal. The shirts were designed by Tolo Tuitele, of Fuel Medical.
“I’m still excited about it, and I think we should do another run,” said Locke.
Graves wants to build on what they started.
“Now, we’ll start having fulfillment done so I can work on more designs,” said Graves. “We will have an Robert F. Kennedy shirt and other people that have said something worth knowing and remembering.”
Go to www.shirtsforcamas.com to order yours.