Tuesday, June 5, 2012

The Fresh "Prints" of Agricola

Good morning my friends from around the globe! I recently noticed a few new countries popping up on the analytics: Lithuania, Israel, the Philippines. Very exciting! Today's post is going to be a little more localized however. I want to take a moment to do what little is within my means to pay back to a special group of gentlemen who recently gave their time and work to a very worthy cause.

The Fresh "Prints" is actually Fresh Prints, a local business that specializes in customized shirts. I have to be completely honest, until I gave my time to volunteer to help an instructor at my college and her MS Walk Team, I had no idea they existed. I'd only ever seen one other store like it in the city. After helping her with her fundraising event, I stayed on to help her raise sponsors to pay for shirts for the team. 

A few weeks before the walk, things were not looking well. Angela nor myself had had much success in raising any sponsorship money. She had received one 50$ donation from a lawyer firm, Ritch Durnford Lawyers. One other sponsor was also going on the shirt, Kelly St-Pierre Photography, as Kelly had donated her time and resources to photograph the Play Date With A Purpose event. Things were not looking very promising and with 14 team members, 50$ was not going to cover the cost. I felt terrible, she felt dejected. Then a wondrous thing occurred. 

I asked Angela for one more day; I would just contact Fresh Prints and see what could be done. Now the internet is not a medium for trying to visualize people through language when one has never officially met. I received a reply quite quickly from a very professional gentleman named Nigel. Nigel was one of the most helpful people I have met. He was very courteous and beyond that courtesy was a generosity and genuine interest in the people of his community.

I explained to him the complete situation, the small budget we had to work with, the brief time before the walk and other details about who we were and why were talking to him. To my absolute surprise and delight, Nigel and his staff not only took on the project but went above and beyond. I cannot express how amazing it is to have experienced first hand a sense of community. They could have easily dismissed us, as other businesses had done for one reason or another, but they didn't.

Nigel and his staff not only donated their time but they donated all 14 tee shirts as well as the time and resources needed to put graphics on them. How absolutely fantastic is that? But wait, because to me this story gets better because it made me realize something very important. I'll get to that in a moment though. I just have to add that on top of all of that generosity, due to some design flaws a final product was never able to be finalized two days before the event. They did not operate on weekends. Nigel and his staff went in, on their own time, their only time, and made up 14 simple tee shirts that brought something very grand to someone who deserves it: Joy. Thank you Nigel; thank you Fresh Prints. What you did for strangers from your community made all the difference in the world.

Now, onto what I learned. I never met Nigel through our correspondence. It was all done electronically through email. I never actually met Nigel until the day before the walk. I went to Fresh Prints on the Saturday to pick up the shirts and met him for the first time. Something struck me when he came out of his office:

How fantastic it was to see someone taking such a strong investment in their community by producing and selling local goods; and doing it independently. Being an entrepreneur is no easy task. It requires a lot of hard work, dedication and ability to suffer through tough times. Having worked for several various franchises, I know it is much easier for an established and large business to absorb such losses. This is not always so easy as an independent entrepreneur; which makes the contribution all the more meaningful. Nigel, you're a class "A" gentleman and a great professional. 

So I urge you, if you're looking to be a little more creative with your next shirt purchase (they do more than just tees) then contact them down at Fresh Prints. While I was there I sifted through two of the five or so binders with suggestions and ideas for shirts and I took a look at some of the pre-made shirts on the racks and walls. Some really great designs but you'll have to go down and see for yourself! On top of that, I believe that they can even work with submitted graphics but you should talk to them about it. 

I'm not an official agent or anything. I'm just a member of the community who reached out to it and got a response from an outstanding business, with an outstanding staff who have a deep sense of charity and good will. It is a kindness that the whole world needs more of. Even the smallest of stones makes a ripple in the lake. Fresh Prints, you've just started a ripple that I'm helping to pass on here. Thank you. Truly.