Booming Big Gretch T-Shirt Sales Help Keep Michigan Small Businesses Alive

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BOYNE, MI – When the coronavirus pandemic closed her Boyne storefront, Ivette Lopez had no idea “Big Gretch” would keep Beer in the open air to close its doors for good.

When the pandemic closed its physical location, Lopez felt the future of his business was in danger. Her luck changed when someone from the Small Business Association of Lansing ordered a “That Woman from Michigan” shirt made by her company and sent it to Governor Gretchen Whitmer. The governor then wore the navy blue shirt in “The Daily Show with Trevor Noah” on April 1.

Lopez has since said business has been booming. In fact, due to popular demand, it added a product line focused on “Big Gretch,” a nickname Detroit rapper GmacCash gave the Governor in a hip hop song of the same name.

“It didn’t even cross my mind to put it on a shirt,” Lopez said. “But we continued to receive requests for shirts with the phrase on them.”

The Whitmer-themed merchandise began after President Donald Trump called Whitmer “that woman from Michigan.” Lopez then worked with his two employees to create more Whitmer-themed products.

Since Outdoor Beerdsman started selling “That Woman from Michigan” products, Lopez said he received “an overwhelming amount” of orders. Before the pandemic, the six-year-old company sold almost nothing online. She said she owes her success to the support Whitmer has shown for her business and others, like Detroit vs. Everybody, wearing locally made clothes.

“I can’t even tell you that,” Lopez said. “Without it, I would have had to close my doors. The overwhelming response we have had from people has been so great. I have had people asking me to do more, which is why we have added the “Big Gretch” product.

While many small businesses have suffered since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic, Lopez said she was grateful for the support Whitmer has given to Michigan businesses, which Lopez says is “a rarity” other than that of politicians. Outdoor Beerdsman even received a thank you letter from Whitmer for the shirt she wore on “The Daily Show”.

“I am so touched,” Lopez said. “She sent us a picture of her wearing the shirt and a thank you note for it. It means a lot that she sent a thank you note, when it was she who supported my small business. I don’t think so. not even that she realizes how much this has affected my business.

While Lopez has said she supports Whitmer, she never wanted shirts to be “a political thing,” she said. Its Whitmer-themed merchandise has come at the behest of its customers, including the most recent line of merchandise, which reads “Wolverine Queen”. Protesters in Lansing called Whitmer on April 30 for allegedly overstepping his authority by extending Michigan’s state of emergency.

“The increase in sales is due to these Whitmer shirts,” Lopez said. “And we still sell them. … We have never had so many online sales.

Lopez has received comments criticizing her and Outdoor Beerdsman for selling the merchandise, which they see as politically motivated. For Lopez, however, the shirts are a way for the Michiganders to show President Trump that they are unhappy with him calling their governor “that woman.”

“It was more of a disrespect, I guess,” Lopez said. “He said ‘that woman’ instead of Governor Whitmer. I think that upset a lot of Michiganders. They were upset that he hadn’t used his name.

Politics aside, Lopez said a positive element that she says will emerge from the pandemic is the increased focus on buying local. She believes the pandemic has made people realize how important local businesses are to the economy.

“A lot of people realize that we support our community,” she said. “We are the ones who donate to schools and charities.

While Lopez knows the pandemic has undoubtedly hurt businesses, she is still grateful for the support “Big Gretch” has given to herself and other business owners.

“Without the governor wearing my shirt, I wouldn’t even be here yet,” she said. “… The idea of ​​losing my store to the pandemic would have been overwhelming. That’s all I’ve worked for the past six or seven years.

The products “Big Gretch”, “That Woman from Michigan” and “Wolverine Queen” are available on the Outdoor Beerdsman website, which also hosts Lopez’s Hoppy Hound Coffee Co. & Dog Bakery storefront. Lopez said the merchandise will be available for the foreseeable future.

Several other local businesses have also started selling “Big Gretch” clothing. Grand Blanc-based Etsy VelocityTees sells a “We Got Big Gretch” shirt for $ 25. Other local Etsy shops with Whitmer clothing include Ann Arbor’s SmittenbyKristen, Farmington Hills’ TopKnot + String, Berkley’s Coolidge Creations, Township of Saginaw Valley of the Green Mittens and Coldwater Old Timey Wimey Stuff.

Read more

Boyne Company Manufactures “That Woman in Michigan” Shirt worn by Governor Gretchen Whitmer

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Protesters brave the rain to send a message to Michigan leaders as the coronavirus state of emergency debate rages on


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