This article was first written in 2009 but it is still relevant today.
I just returned from a much needed R&R break to Kentucky (new home of Mike Fresener and family). Pat and I drove there (to deliver Mike's wife's car) and flew home and frankly it was an eye opener. You read all of the doom and gloom and it is hard to not feel the pinch when unemployment is around 10% and more in some areas. But, the one thing that was obvious – especially in small towns – is that people still buy printed shirts.
Since I live in the Phoenix metro area it is sometimes hard to remember there are hundreds of thousands of small communities that flourish even in these bad times. Mike Fresener lives near a town of about 30,000 people but it is surrounded by small towns. We spent a couple of days driving around to see the area and yes, people were selling and wearing printed shirts. In fact, shirt commerce goes on because there are always events, fund raisers, family reunions and more.
The lake near Mike has a number of yearly festivals and on the day we left they had a huge blowout with fireworks, boating events and more. And, they had lots of printed souvenir shirts. The local gas station had a club selling shirts for fund raisers. The marinas and bait shops all had shirts for the events and the area. Nothing really changes. Yes, maybe people spend less but they will always buy that souvenir. For those who are feeling the pinch I say get out and network. Make the cold calls. Market and sell and don't give up.Don't let the doom and gloom get you down. In one of the last classes we did at U.S. Screen, one student was from a small town in Wisconsin and she said they never felt any recession and it was business as usual.