What do you do when your favorite bar gets demolished to make room for condos? If you’re Charley Holden and Derek Hood, you create a good-karma T-shirt company that helps keep local businesses afloat.
When Al’s Bar was torn down in 2009 to make way for new developments, the friends decided they had to do something. It wasn’t long before they came up with ProjectAl: a company that would help independent businesses survive in the struggling economy and prevent franchise giants from pervading the culture and community of local dive bars. Inspired by the philanthropic nature of Al’s, which was known to give back to its community, Holden and Hood also decided that a portion of the proceeds should go to local charities.
ProjectAl sells (cute, wearable) T-shirts featuring original designs of local bars and restaurants in the metro area. All shirts are made in America, and as the Southwest Journal reports, the guys tend to embody the mission of their project in their personal life: “You won’t see us at a franchise,” Holden said. “Unless it is out of desperation at an airport. The business owners are people who live with us and support our community, so we should support them.”
Proceeds from your purchase are split evenly three ways: between the local business featured on the T-shirt, the designers, and a local charity of your choice. You can order ProjectAl T-shirts off the website, as well as learn about the establishments on each design. Some of them, like The Whiskey Junction or Palmers, have been Minneapolis mainstays for more than five decades.