FREDERICKTOWN – Davis Slagle noticed shuttered companies like his across the country had quickly launched fundraisers for small businesses and workers who were furloughed because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
He said he felt a need to do the same thing for his employees and the many other small businesses that were forced to close in the region to help slow the community spread of the coronavirus.
“People kept asking, ‘Is there any way we can help?’” said Slagle, whose business, BeeGraphix of Fredericktown, was forced to close and lay off its employees following Gov. Tom Wolf’s March 19 order to shutter nonessential businesses.
BeeGraphix is offering T-shirts bearing the message, “SMALL TOWNS BIG HEARTS,” for $24 each, with $5 of the price going into a pot for his workers and $10 to small businesses that sign up for the promotion.
As of Monday, 67 businesses had signed on, and at least one of them, Paci’s Lounge & Dining Room in Centerville, promised to give its share of sales to its employees. Nearly 300 T-shirt orders were received in less than five days.
“Paci’s was the first one to sign up,” Slagle said. “That’s great what they are doing.”
In a social media post, Paci’s said it loved BeeGraphix for stepping up to help the community.
“My Paci family is hurting too. Let’s help them out,” the restaurant’s post said.
BeeGraphix, which also has stores in North Belle Vernon and Waynesburg, laid off 18 employees and usually adds as many as 14 temporary workers during peak production, Slagle said.
The T-shirt promotion will last as long as businesses are closed over COVID-19, he said. Buyers can select the businesses they wish to support from the list of participants.
More information about the T-shirt sale can be found at: smalltowns.itemorder.com/sale.