Westerly screen-printer’s Stonington-Westerly football rivalry t-shirts take off a bit too soon

Westerly screen-printer’s Stonington-Westerly football rivalry t-shirts take off a bit too soon


WESTERLY — Hot off the press took on a new meaning for one local shopkeeper Tuesday afternoon.

Kevin Adams, one of the original committee members for this weekend’s Bricks and Murals festival, who also owns J. Mack Studios, a Westerly-based screen-printing company, was halfway finished completing an order of 500 T-shirts featuring a design from one of the murals when he posted a teaser on the company’s Facebook page.

He was not expecting the avalanche of instant feedback from football-lovers and fans of a certain revered local Thanksgiving Day tradition.

The tees, roughly 300 in blue and 200 in brown — blue for the Bulldogs, and brown for the Bears, of course — feature a scene from the historic Westerly-Stonington Turkey Day football rivalry.

Almost as soon as Adams posted a photo of the T-shirts with his message, “Take home a piece of history! Available starting Sept. 14th,” on Tuesday afternoon, the calls started pouring in.

Underneath the Facebook photo of the tees was printed: “Which side are you on?” in large, blue letters, and “Available at the Bricks and Murals Food Stroll, J. Mack Studios, C.C. O’Brien’s and Mel’s Downtown Creamery. All Proceeds to benefit Bricks & Murals.”

In a matter of minutes, the post received close to 20 “likes” and a number of shares.

“People are showing up at the shop and calling here and calling C.C. O’Brien’s,” said Adams Tuesday afternoon as he marveled at the instant magic of social media. “I haven’t even finished making them.”

The football mural is slated to be painted on the side of C.C. O’Brien’s, an Irish sports pub and café on Mechanic Street in Pawcatuck, where the phone was also ringing steadily Tuesday afternoon.

Carolyn O’Brien, who owns the cafe with her husband, Sean, said the minute the post appeared on Facebook Tuesday, she got a call. It was from a friend who has two children at Stonington High School.

“She asked me to put some aside for her,” said O’Brien with a laugh. A while later, she got a text with a similar request.

“Do you have the shirts,” they asked her. “Can you save a couple?”

Although the backs of the tees had been screen-printed with the football scene on Tuesday, the small bears and bulldogs had yet to be printed on the front of the shirts.

“I’m going to get to them tonight,” added Adams, who attended neither Westerly nor Stonington High School but is a proud graduate of St. Bernard School. “They’ll be ready (Wednesday), but they’re not for sale until Thursday.”

“I guess nobody read the part that read ‘Available starting Thursday, Sept. 14th’” he added with a laugh.

On Wednesday morning, Adams enjoyed a laugh with Joe Bazdylo, Ken Lowell and Irene Manzi, the three employees who worked on the order with him as he packed the completed shirts into a big brown box.

“That was the most complicated teaser ever,” said Adams, laughing about Tuesday’s Facebook message. “But they are ready now and they’ll go on sale tomorrow.”

“I can’t wait,” said O’Brien about the expected arrival of the tees and about the weekend ahead. “The excitement has been building and building and now it’s here.”


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