So, I know, you may or may not (I don't) have all your Christmas shopping and shipping done. However, here is a gift that's not only a taste of nostalgia but they're like Cousin Eddie says in National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation, "That's the gift that keeps giving the whole year."

Full disclosure, these Owensboro tees from The Kentucky Shop have been available for a while; I'm just now getting around to writing about them, my bad. Hey, things get busy, you don't get your Christmas shopping done, etc. I have made one or maybe two purchases from Rick and Joni, by the way, Joni is from Owensboro, so the couple decided to start a city series.

The Kentucky Shop
The Kentucky Shop

I mean that is a sweet tribute to Gabe's Tower, complete with the rooftop swimming pool. Of course, there are plenty of other landmarks, and memories of Owensboro to consider. Heck, you wear that Frederica Street shirt, that's a conversation and pronunciation starter.

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Here is Rick's and Joni's story:

"On one snowy night in the winter of 2013, my wife and I sat down on our couch and came up with an idea for a local shopping social media app called Shop Local Kentucky to connect Kentuckians to unique places and people across the state discovering new, local businesses. We launched social media accounts, and as a web developer, I started work on the app. The social media accounts highlighted all things Kentucky and immediately took off and grew in the beginning days of Instagram. The app - Not so much. So, after several months of posting all things Kentucky, we decided to use our small platform for a little bit of good.

We connected with a local charity and having grown up in a screen print shop decided that the best mode for our new charitable giving idea was a simple, soft t-shirt. We bought a small printing press, put it in our garage, and printed 100 t-shirts with the app’s (Shop Local Kentucky) logo. The shirts sold out online within minutes and we were able to donate all of the proceeds to the Toy Chest Children’s charity. We had not anticipated that the community of Kentucky would connect and rally behind the idea that a t-shirt could do a whole lot of good in the world.

Over the next few years, Joni and I traveled the state setting up at any fair, festival, or event that would have us. We set up an online store for our simple, Kentucky-inspired designs and started shipping from our garage in the after-hours of our 9-5. We knew to make the biggest impact possible, we had to establish a sustainable business and use that business to launch our charitable giving platform. In 2015, we felt confident enough in the Kentucky t-shirt business to quit our day jobs and focus solely on our passion project.

We moved into a small, run-down warehouse in downtown Lexington, Kentucky, and patiently worked for 2 more years until in 2017 we could print at the volume needed to make impactful change through our t-shirts, establishing the Kentucky Strong initiative. Since its launch, Kentucky Strong t-shirts have raised over $1.4 million for life-changing causes near and far.

Over the years, the brand has grown and changed with the times, all while remaining true to our original mission to ‘Keep the grass blue’ through timeless t-shirt & apparel designs highlighting all that is great about our Old Kentucky Home, while fundraising for those with immediate needs across the state. Thank you all for sticking by, and sharing in our passion to make Kentucky as great as it can be. We truly believe life is better in the bluegrass!

Rick & Joni"

Who knows, maybe this is a gift idea for next year? And I can't wait to see which other cities they add to the series.

You Might Be From Kentucky If...

I'm sure there can be 50 versions of this concept, but we'll let the other 49 states deal with their own. We're here for the Bluegrass State.

Gallery Credit: Dave Spencer

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