When Lisa Lahti set a goal of selling 100 T-shirts to help benefit Gaston County residents struggling financially due to the coronavirus pandemic, she wasn’t sure if the goal would be met.
But Gaston County responded in a major way as Lahti sold 135 of the teal blue T-shirts that featured the words Celebrate Local and #gosupportgaston within 14 days.
“People loved them. They loved the design, they loved the feel of the shirt and they really liked that they were supporting Gaston County residents,” she said.
Two years ago, Lahti began her business, Pickleweeds Press, a micro-printer that specializes in earth-friendly printing. She not only does commercial jobs, but also designs and sells clothing from her shop located at 170 S. South St. in downtown Gastonia.
With that first edition in the rear-view mirror, Lahti has embarked on a second edition of the Celebrate Local T-shirts. The new shirt features a fresh design. She is in the process of printing the new shirts and they should be available this weekend.
“I’m going to do editions of 100 for as long as this lasts so people can collect whatever edition I’ve got going out,” Lahti said of the shirts that she hopes generate money to bring relief to others in Gaston County that are struggling financially during these uncertain times.
Lahti said she’s had to “go up a little on the costs” as the first edition was sold for $15. The new second edition T-shirts will be sold for $17.99 apiece with $10 from each sale going to the Gaston County Virus Relief Fund that is overseen by the Gaston Community Foundation and United Way of Gaston County.
“Honestly, I made $24 on the last run. It’s not something I’m doing for a lot of money, but I am trying to cover my costs.”
Lahti said she plans to make her donation of $1,350 to the United Way in early May from proceeds from the first T-shirt run.
Since the fund’s formation in mid-March, there had been $416,686 raised by 155 donors and seven fundraisers as of April 28. Donations are awarded to local non-profit organizations responding and impacted by the coronavirus outbreak.
While her work calendar still remains blank in the wake of festival cancellations, Lahti said she remains thankful for the support from the local community.
“I’ve been very, very appreciative of Gaston County’s residents. I cannot believe how well they responded to all this,” she said.