Ten dollars at a time, one Ozark business helps others through the lean times of the coronavirus pandemic.

As of April 26, Hometown Print House doled out $3,960 to the owners of more than two dozen Ozark and Nixa businesses. It’s probably not going to be the difference between staying open or not, but Hometown Print House owner Bradley Jackson hopes some T-shirts will help his neighbors pay their bills.

“It started out as my wife’s idea,” Jackson said. “We’ll have the opportunity to help out some of our neighbors down here around the square that are hurting.”

It’s called “Love My Town,” a collection of T-shirts available for purchase at https://hometownsports.com/lovemytown/shop/home. The shirts sell for $20, $10 of which goes directly to the chosen business. The remaining $10 covers the cost of apparel, printing and packaging.

Many of the shops in and around the downtown square in Ozark are under extended closures because of stay-at-home orders in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Jackson said he is staying busy. The former Ozark mayor and aldermen prints the shirts as they are ordered. He would normally print logos onto apparel and then sell them directly to other businesses, but he now finds himself shipping out shirts to addresses all over Ozark and Nixa.

“We’ve all had to adapt our business models during this. Me being a retail store, I’m heavily focused on two modes of financing my operation, one of them being walk-in traffic, and the other being external events. Well, external events have all shut down, and I can’t have walk-in traffic,” Jackson said.

Jackson said it’s up to each business with a “Love My Town” shirt to use their own websites and social media platforms to promote shirt sales.

“Every Monday morning, we issue payment based off of what was sold that week,” Jackson said.

Jackson hopes Hometown Print House’s effort will have some residual impact for businesses that were classified as “non-essential” under state and municipal stay-at-home orders.

“When it comes time for the city, county and state to pay their bills, we’re all essential, you know? We’ve all got to generate sales tax revenue. When the big boys, like Walmart, Target or any of these bigger businesses—when they’re out selling their essential items, they’re also selling non-essentials, but us smaller guys can’t. We’ve got to do something,” Jackson said. “This project—it didn’t keep anybody afloat. Maybe it helped them out a little bit, and maybe it gave them some web-based traffic to get other things going.”

It started out with a handful of shops and restaurants, but the selection of available shirts has grown to 28 and counting. The options include Two Saved Sisters Boutique, Little Bluebird, Sands Cafe, Market House, Word on the Street Bookshop, Golden Dragon, the Hive, Spring Creek Tea Room, Hazel’s Flowers, the Avant Garden, Sno-Ballz, Weezie’s, Texas Soul Boutique, Stacey’s Sweets, Nest, the Finley, Church Street Antiques, Iguana Roja, Big Al’s Subs, the Venue on Brick, Full Octave Coffee Roasters, Huckabella, Yen Ching, Missouri Valley Gymnastics, Margorgeous Boutique and Happy Chef Catering Co.

“Maybe they could use these T-shirts as a way to promote their business after this all over,” Jackson said.

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