EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

April 19, 2013

Local 'Boston Strong' shirts hit store shelves

By Doug Ireland
direland@eagletribune.com

---- — ATKINSON — “Boston Strong” — it’s a heartfelt message on the minds of many this week.

Now, it’s on T-shirts, too.

As the entire nation mourns the three people killed in the Boston Marathon bombings and prays for the approximately 180 injured, some are choosing to honor the victims by wearing the Boston Strong logo. Proceeds from the shirt sales are being donated to charities.

At Atkinson Graphics on Industrial Way, the press started rolling yesterday afternoon — turning out white T-shirts with yellow-and-blue words carrying a familiar message of resiliency, determination and spirit.

Owner David Tremblay said his seven-person company received several inquiries from vendors interested in buying shirts, so he decided to start manufacturing them. He will sell them, too, for $10.

“We’re just running with it,” he said.

Tremblay is producing at least 2,000 shirts to start, and can crank out more than 800 an hour. They will hit store shelves today.

Tremblay is accustomed to printing shirts for local organizations and school sports teams. Yesterday, he was also making T-shirts for Londonderry High School music students performing next week at Disney World.

He said it was nice to produce shirts for an important cause, just as he did after the Sept. 11 attacks when “United We Stand” shirts became popular.

“It’s exciting — it’s something different than what we usually do,” he said. “We want to help make a difference.”

He said his employees have embraced the effort, so has his family.

A dollar from the sale of each shirt will be donated to a charity established in memory of Martin Richard — the 8-year-old boy killed in the attacks, he said.

“I picked that foundation because of my two boys,” Tremblay said.

He said his sons, Evan, 9, and Drew, 7, were drawn to the media coverage of the bombings and the young boy’s tragic death. They asked numerous questions about the attacks, wondering if it would be safe to go to Red Sox games again.

“They wanted to do something for him,” Tremblay said. “They were really bummed out by it.”

Some of Tremblay’s vendors said they were anxious to start selling the shirts.

Rich Rigazio, owner of Signal Variety convenience store in Plaistow, said he ordered 144 shirts. He ordinarily doesn’t sell T-shirts, but said he wanted to help an important cause and will donate some of the proceeds.

“We just know it’s something where people will want to give back,” Rigazio said. “We want to do what we can to help. Everyone wants to support this cause.”

At Stateline Paysaver convenience store in Salem, clerk Cathy Coneeny was busy yesterday afternoon letting people know they could get their shirts today.

“It’s awesome,” she said of the shirts. “I’m telling all the customers.”

Coneeny planned to buy a Boston Strong shirt online before leaving for work yesterday, but ran out of time. She’s glad she can get one at work.

Coneeny said owner Arthur Notini wanted to join the cause and plans on donating some proceeds to benefit the victims’ families.