Helping out a small business in DeSoto County stay afloat can be as simple as buying a T-shirt.
Many smaller companies are facing a severe loss of income due to the coronavirus pandemic that has forced them to close. Their closure means no money coming into the business and in turn, no dollars to pay their employees, or cover their operating expenses. Some may still be in business, but because of the virus, they've had to make deep cuts or lay off workers with a severe loss of income.
What is becoming a movement is being spurred on by an Olive Branch print shop that is pledging half of its sales from their specially-designed T-shirt to a small business the buyer designates.
Andy Haynes of the Local Print Co. in Olive Branch is behind the idea which he is successfully seeing work in other parts of the country. The idea has quickly taken off in DeSoto County as well. It's called "Here For Good MS."
Haynes said the idea started with another print shop near St. Louis, Missouri.
"They started the movement as a way to give back to small businesses that are hurting right now with all of the COVID-19 stuff," Haynes said. "We came up with a design and pushed it out. I can help small businesses by printing shirts. We had a great feedback off the bat and it's steadily grown."
How it works is that a customer goes to the website www.hereforgoodMS.com and orders a shirt priced at $20. While the design remains the same, there are different colors a customer can choose from. Sizes range from small to 3XL.
As part of the purchase process, the customer clicks on the webpage to pick a business from one of more than 80 listed. If the customer chooses to buy more than one shirt, they can choose several different businesses depending on the number of shirts they buy.
When the shirt purchase is made, Haynes sets aside $10 per shirt that is earmarked to the selected business. The money earned for the week gets figured out and then sent to the business each Monday.
"We've got gyms that are involved, restaurants, lawn care companies, just a variety of businesses that are really hurting right now," Haynes said. "They've had to close down doors, some maybe with curbside pickups keeping money coming in, but not nearly what it was."
Haynes said his business, which involves printing shirts and promotional material items for businesses, has also been affected by the coronavirus pandemic.
"When the news first hit, almost overnight we lost about $6,000 in orders we were looking to print for the next few weeks," Haynes said. "Everyone's been shutting down for the most part. If I can help sell a shirt on my website and be able to give them half the proceeds and them just sharing a post, it also helps my business."
There's a spot on the website where people can nominate businesses not on the list who are then asked if they want to join the movement. Their only requirement is to be willing to do it and share a link or post on their website or social media that promotes #HereForGoodMS. Businesses can also nominate themselves if they care to.
As of Monday, Haynes said total sales of the shirts was close to $5,000 and that means about $2,500 is then split between the designated small business owners.
"We're going to be releasing new shirt designs and be doing some giveaways to try to build awareness of our businesses," Haynes said. "The goal would be to grow this thing to a couple hundred businesses and grow awareness. I'd love to have 10,000 people on our Facebook group so that no one gets left out or overlooked."
People can find out more at www.hereforgoodMS.com, where shirts may also be purchased and favorite businesses nominated.
It's a great example of one small business hoping to help out other businesses to help keep all of them "here for good."