Letters

Letters 08-29-2016

Religious Bigotry President Obama has been roundly criticized for his apparent unwillingness to use the term “radical Islamic terrorism.” His critics seem to suggest that through the mere use of that terminology, the defeat of ISIS would be assured...

TC DDA: Focus On Your Mission What on earth is the Traverse City DDA thinking? Purchasing land around (not within) its TIF boundaries and then offering it at a discount to developers? That is not its mission. Sadly enough, it is already falling down on the job regarding what is its mission. Crosswalks are deteriorating all around downtown, trees aren’t trimmed, sidewalks are uneven. Why can’t the DDA do a better job of maintaining what it already has? And still no public restrooms downtown, despite all the tax dollars captured since 1997. What a joke...

European-Americans Are Boring “20 Fascinating People” in northern Michigan -- and every single one is European-American? Sorry, but this is journalistically incorrect. It’s easy for editors to assign and reporters to write stories about people who are already within their personal and professional networks. It’s harder to dig up stuff about people you don’t know and have never met. Harder is better...

Be Aware Of Lawsuit While most non-Indians were sleep walking, local Odawa leaders filed a lawsuit seeking to potentially have most of Emmet County and part of Charlevoix County declared within their reservation and thus under their jurisdiction. This assertion of jurisdiction is embedded in their recently constructed constitution as documentation of their intent...

More Parking Headaches I have another comment to make about downtown TC parking following Pat Sullivan’s recent article. My hubby and I parked in a handicap spot (with a meter) behind Mackinaw Brew Pub for lunch. The handicap spot happens to be 8-10 spaces away from the payment center. Now isn’t that interesting...

Demand Change At Women’s Resource Center Change is needed for the Women’s Resource Center for the Grand Traverse Area (WRCGT). As Patrick Sullivan pointed out in his article, former employees and supporters don’t like the direction WRCGT has taken. As former employees, we are downright terrified at the direction Juliette Schultz and Ralph Soffredine have led the organization...

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

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.

THE DESIGN
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
below.

LOCAL FLAVOR
Store manager Scott Wikle, who performs in Traverse City’s Lone
Fugitive Band, says Roth Shirts offer something the Life is Good brand
cannot:
“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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