Letters 11-23-2015

Cheering From Petoskey While red-eyed rats boil fanatically up from the ancient sewers of Paris to feast on pools of French blood, at the G20 meeting the farcical pied piper of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue thrusts a bony finger at the president of the Russian Federation and yells: “liberté, égalité, fraternité, Clinton, Kerry--Obamaism!”

The Other Mothers And Fathers Regarding the very nice recent article on “The First Lady of Yoga,” I have taken many classes with Sandy Carden, and I consider her to be a great teacher. However, I feel the article is remiss to not even give acknowledgement to other very important yoga influences in northern Michigan...

Drop The Blue Angels The last time I went to the National Cherry Festival, I picked the wrong day. The Blue Angels were forcing everyone to duck and cover from the earsplitting cacophony overhead...

Real Advice For The Sick In the Nov. 16 article “Flu Fighters,” author Kristi Kates fails to mention the most basic tool in our arsenal during Influenza season... the flu vaccine! I understand you might be afraid of being the victim of Jenny McCarthyism, but the science is there...

Keeping Traverse City in the Dark Our environment is our greatest asset. It sustains our lives; it drives our economy. We ignore it at our peril. Northern Michigan Environmental Action Council (NMEAC) has submitted letters of concern to both the city commission and planning commission regarding the proposed 9-story buildings on Pine Street. We have requested an independent environmental assessment with clear answers before a land use permit is granted...

All About Them Another cartoon by Jen Sorensen that brings out the truth! Most of her cartoons are too slanted in a Socialist manner, but when she gets it correct, she hits the nail on the target! “Arizona is the first state to put a 12-month lifetime limit on welfare benefits.” That quote is in the opening panel... 

Unfair To County Employees It appears that the commissioners of Grand Traverse County will seek to remedy a shortfall in the 2016 budget by instituting cuts in expenditures, the most notable the reduction of contributions to various insurance benefits in place for county employees. As one example, the county’s contributions to health insurance premiums will decrease from ten to six percent in 2016. What this means, of course, is that if a county employee wishes to maintain coverage at the current level next year, the employee will have to come up with the difference...

Up, Not Out I would like to congratulate the Traverse City Planning Commission on their decision to approve the River West development. Traverse City will either grow up or grow out. For countless reasons, up is better than out. Or do we enjoy such things as traffic congestion and replacing wooded hillsides with hideous spectacles like the one behind Tom’s West Bay. At least that one is on the edge of town as opposed to in the formerly beautiful rolling meadows of Acme Township...

Lessons In Winning War I am saddened to hear the response of so many of legislators tasked with keeping our country safe. I listen and wonder if they know what “winning” this kind of conflict requires or even means? Did we win in Korea? Did we win in Vietnam? Are we winning in Afghanistan? How is Israel winning against the Palestinians? Will they “take out” Hezbollah...

Home · Articles · News · Features · Roth Shirt Company
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Roth Shirt Company

Erin Crowell - August 16th, 2010
Quirky, Local Threads at Roth Shirt Company
By Erin Crowell
We’ve all seen the Life is Good brand – t-shirts and other
paraphernalia with the crudely drawn, smiling stick man (a.k.a.
“Jack”) doing something outdoorsyish, the drawing accompanied by a
clever saying – usually a play on words.
You’ll see the same similarities on the merchandise at Roth Shirt
Company, located on Front Street, in downtown Traverse City. However,
these crude drawings with their playful slogans offer a local twist to
the “good life” theme, and many people—near and afar—are digging the
crazy-haired cartoon man.
Move over, Jake.
Sure, the drawings on Roth Shirt’s hats, t’s and sweatshirts are crude
– but owner/designer Ed Roth says it works.
“I have zero background in art,” he says, “but, people seem to like
the simplicity.”
Roth also has zero background in the retail business.
After spending several years in the real estate investments market, he
became bored – and because of the collapse in the real estate market –
pursued a new career.
“I’m the type of person that just dives in and learns as I go,” he says.

Roth sat down one day and drew six designs for some t-shirts, using a
cartoon face as the main character that a friend had scribbled down
years ago.
“The story is kind of long,” explains Roth. “But, basically we had a
musician friend who, one day, drew this crazy-looking face and said
‘that’s who I am now.’”
In the spirit of “The Artist Formerly Known as Prince,” symbol, Roth’s
musician friend was then “The Artist Formerly Known as ‘Dark
Strangely,’” using the new cartoon face as his identity (think
“Wilson” the volleyball in the 2000 film “Cast Away”).
“We put it on a couple cassette tapes and what-not, but it didn’t last
long,” explains Roth.
However, the cartoon face has since lived on.
With just a handful of t-shirt designs, Roth took his new brand to the
2008 Alanson Riverfest near Petoskey where the shirts were well
received by patrons.
“I had a guy come up, point to a shirt and say, ‘I want that,’ and
then pointed up to the shirt hanging behind me and said, ‘but, in that
color.’ I explained to him that I had worn that particular shirt
nearly 10 times already, but he didn’t care,” Roth laughs.
From then on, Roth knew his designs were unique.
Today, Roth Shirt Company offers over 30 designs on short and long
sleeve shirts, hats and sweatshirts, each made with 100% ringspun
cotton. Their website boasts, “If it’s not a Roth, it’s just cloth.”
The business’s most popular shirt is their “wine critic” design in
celebration of the local wineries, which features a wine glass and the
staple Wilson-like face.
Traverse City resident Katie Kazarian was recently in the store
picking up the “wine critic” shirt for a friend.
“This is shirt number three,” Kazarian explains of her latest
purchase. “They’re really soft, wash great…you really can’t go wrong.”
Kazarian first bought a Roth Shirt for her husband, a t-shirt with the
picture of a small motorboat with the words “pleasure craft” printed

Store manager Scott Wikle, who performs in Traverse City’s Lone
Fugitive Band, says Roth Shirts offer something the Life is Good brand
“It’s local,” he says. “You can go all over the country and find Life
is Good t-shirts, but they’re not unique to an area. People like (Roth
Shirts) because you can’t find them everywhere.”
Other popular designs include the “beer critic” – same design as the
wine critic, but with a pint glass; “heaven on earth” – which features
an illustration of earth, with nothing but the state of Michigan as
visible land; the “Dunworkin” road sign design, with some scribbles of
a beer bottle and shotglass; and the puck and hockey stick drawing
that says “stick it,” for the hockey fan who, as Roth puts it, “always
has an attitude anyway.”
Prices range from $15 for youth sizes to $33 for sweatshirts, and come
in a variety of colors and styles.
While most customers have been from out-of-town during the festival
season, Roth says he is generating a considerable amount of business
from the local community.
“People embrace locally made things – things that have some soul,” Roth says.

Roth Shirt Company is located at 155 E. Front St. in downtown Traverse
City. Hours are Monday-Thursday, 10 a.m.-6 p.m.; open til 8 p.m.
Fridays & Saturdays; Sunday, noon-5 p.m. Check their website for
online sales and more at www.rothshirtco.com.

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