Thursday, November 23, 2017
Business

Hudson family launches Catholic T-shirt company

RECOMMENDED READING


HUDSON — Nick France calls himself a "strong Catholic," and his commitment to the church is apparent.

"I've been a lector, a Eucharistic minister, a catechist," he said. He was a grand knight in the Knights of Columbus, started a chapter of Columbian Squires — a Knights group for Catholic young men — and played guitar in a church band.

Last month, with his family's help, France, a graphic designer, launched a business he can add to his list of ministries: a Catholic T-shirt company called MyCatholicTshirt.com.

The goal? To sell shoppers T-shirts with designs "rooted in Christian values."

France, 53, works full time for TECO (Tampa Electric) as supervisor of the multimedia design group in corporate communications and does freelance web and graphic design. MyCatholicTshirt.com is his first Catholic business venture. The inspiration was sparked by shirts his family has seen on other people in public.

"Pornography on a T-shirt," he said, and "F-bomb city. The foulest language you can imagine."

What people can buy now has "no limits," said France's daughter, Angelina, 19, as if T-shirt makers said "let's see how far we can go."

While from France's perspective the industry already has gone too far, he isn't interested in censorship.

"To each his own," he said. But "that somebody can actually go out in public, and be around children, and don this apparel" concerns him.

France's daughter Natalia Gallo, 23, who lives in Belcamp, Md., is proud to be Catholic, but said most young Catholics think "there's no cool way do it." The shirts on her dad's site provide "something you can wear that looks like what everybody's wearing, but has (a faith-based) message."

The shirts aren't just for Catholics, France said. The company's tagline is "for Christians of all stripes," said France, who operates the business out of his house with his family. France designs the shirts and his wife, Gretchen, 45, helps with the administrative side of the business. His children — Natalia, Angelina, Bianca, 17, and Nick, 15 — provide feedback on France's designs. Gallo also helps write content for the site, and manages the social media they use to promote it.

Some of the designs so far are based on Jesus, the Virgin Mary and the rosary, and a shirt France plans to design will feature Pope Francis. The company also can create custom shirts for church groups. France intends to sell rosaries, too, and to add other apparel to the site, including jeans.

"We want to be respectful of the creator and his creation," France said, so "we're going to plant a tree (with every order) through Trees for the Future," an organization that plants trees in developing countries. France also wants to "try and change the culture."

"We have no illusions that these shirts are going to change the world single-handedly," he said. But the France family believes the people who wear them will have an impact.

In a culture that "gets worse and worse," said Gretchen France, "the best fight you can put up is to be a good example."

Comments
Suburban-bound millennials and other 2018 housing trends to watch

Suburban-bound millennials and other 2018 housing trends to watch

What’s ahead for real estate in 2018? Zillow economists put their heads together and offered up a laundry list of forecasts and predictions. The chief one to remember? Inventory shortages of homes for sale which challenged the market in 2017 will pe...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Woman, 51, robbed in Tyrone Square Mall parking lot, police say

ST. PETERSBURG — A woman was robbed after a man followed her to her car in a mall parking lot Thursday night and fired one shot at her, police said. The 51-year-old woman, whose identity St. Petersburg Police are withholding, was not injured. She was...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Black Friday still a brick-and-mortar experience for some

Black Friday still a brick-and-mortar experience for some

TAMPA — Standing in a frantic line at Best Buy on Thanksgiving, one young woman beat the system when she showed off the receipt for her new TV, which she had just purchased on her phone. She was waiting to pick it up."I didn’t know you could do that,...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Across country, small retailers aim for emotional ties big chains may lack

Across country, small retailers aim for emotional ties big chains may lack

Associated PressSome smaller retailers will tug at shoppers’ heartstrings during the holidays, trying to create an emotional experience or connection that a big national chain might not provide.Store owners are going well beyond the usual holiday dec...
Updated: 3 hours ago
As Tampa Bay economy matures, more key people bear watching. Let’s get started.

As Tampa Bay economy matures, more key people bear watching. Let’s get started.

What’s coming down the economic pike for Tampa Bay? Who’s driving this metro economy into 2018 and beyond? Change — people, issues, business focus — can be a good thing. It keeps places like geographically challenged Tampa Bay nimble with fresh blood...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Inkwood Books among retailers banking on ‘Small Business Saturday’

Inkwood Books among retailers banking on ‘Small Business Saturday’

TAMPA — By Tuesday evening, at least 50 cardboard boxes were still stacked against the shop’s wall, each labeled clearly with a black sharpie."Biographies""Pets""Fiction""Music"While the front of the store and new children’s section was mostly in pla...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Six years and counting: Allegiant Air reaches agreement with flight attendants

Six years and counting: Allegiant Air reaches agreement with flight attendants

ST. PETERSBURG — After six years of negotiations, Las Vegas-based Allegiant Air and its flight attendants union reached a tentative contract to improve worker pay and benefits and solidify airline policies."We feel like it’s an agreement that is cert...
Published: 11/22/17
Workers at luxury St. Pete condo tower say they are owed thousands

Workers at luxury St. Pete condo tower say they are owed thousands

ST. PETERSBURG — Nearly three dozen workers at ONE St. Petersburg, a luxury condo tower under construction in the heart of downtown, haven’t been paid in weeks and are owed thousands of dollars.With the holidays nearing, some of the men say they are ...
Published: 11/22/17
Some cities faced with all-or-nothing medical marijuana rules are playing it safe

Some cities faced with all-or-nothing medical marijuana rules are playing it safe

When it comes to weighing the options for regulating medical marijuana through the law passed this year, Dunedin city commissioners declared local governments face a "conundrum" and "a false dilemma."They said they would welcome a dispensary in the c...
Published: 11/22/17
More guns being detected at Tampa Bay area airports — and everywhere else

More guns being detected at Tampa Bay area airports — and everywhere else

TAMPA — Here’s some travel math for this traditionally heavy day for long trips: More people carrying guns plus more people flying equals more guns going to the airport.The numbers bear this out. The federal Transportation Security Administration has...
Published: 11/22/17