AYER – Imagine stopping by a restaurant or a fitness center or another local business that was particularly impressive, so much so that a customer wanted to do more to show support. Sometimes there’s a merchandise section of a store to buy a mug or a lanyard or even a T-shirt to pick up. Other times a business might not have merchandise to help spread the word about its work.
Fortunately, J&S Business Products, Inc., has a way to help.
Located on 17 Main St., the screen-printing business has been selling T-shirts with the logos of local businesses on them throughout the pandemic. Not only does the company provide advertising on stitched cotton, but it has also been donating half of the sales back to the businesses the shirts advertise.
Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, which has significantly damaged the economy, J&S has donated over $8,000 to local businesses.
Jose Banchs, the co-founder and owner of J&S, said he started the business at his house in Shirley in 2003 and moved it to its Ayer location in 2008.
“It was originally just printing for small businesses, cards and envelopes and letterheads,” Banchs said. “As years went on with the rise of the internet, business died down. Now we do promotional items, screen printing and embroidery for businesses. It all molded into one around 2008 because the printing industry went away. Some printing we do in-house, but sometimes we contract out.”
J&S’s current business model offers shirts at $20 a piece on its website, with $10 of that sale going to the business advertised on the T-shirts. These businesses include the Union Coffee Roaster in Ayer, The Bull Run Restaurant in Shirley, Dragonfly Wellness Center in Devens and even the Nashoba Valley Chamber of Commerce.
“When the shutdown happened, we were hurting,” Banchs said. “But we saw what was happening to other businesses, so we started brainstorming ideas. We pitched this idea to Melissa Fetterhoff at the Chamber and she got some businesses on board. We were helping these businesses by keeping their names in the public eye.”
Banchs added that as time went on and word got around, nonprofits like Loaves & Fishes and even the town of Templeton contacted J&S to collaborate. Banchs said 100 shirts with Templeton’s logo on it were sold in just a day, joining the 30 businesses J&S has collaborated with on shirts.
He further expressed that any town or business inside or out of Massachusetts can contact J&S to work together. He added that he’s looking to touch up the website for the holiday season, offering branded sweatshirts and knit caps.
“This is something that we’ve been doing for years in different situations,” Banchs said. “It’s something we want to keep going. Maybe if people want aT-shirt for the community or if any organization wants a fundraiser, we’re willing to help. It’s almost a no-brainer.”