Jarrod Hennis has the entrepreneurial spirit: he sees an opportunity and runs with it.
Since Hennis opened Rockford Art Deli four years ago, he has seen his customers run in and his business take off.
Thinking back to opening day, Hennis says, "We started with six shirts and now we have around sixty, as well as other items."
With those products they all have something in common, the city that they are made in. "Everybody wants Rockford shirts!", Hennis laughs. "815 is definitely the most popular (shirt), we started that over two years ago on August 15th."
And since then the design is on the majority of their shirts, crew-neck sweatshirts, long-sleeve shirts, and even coffee mugs.
Hennis is a Rockford native and has seen the connection these shirts have made with locals. "People see 815 and they say, 'Hey! are you from Rockford?' It creates this relationship builder", says Hennis.
A relationship made with customers, as well as local businesses.
"Collaboration over competition is what I always say," says Hennis.
Hennis has teamed up with area businesses like Prairie Street Brewhouse and West Rock Wake Park to come up with designs and ideas, all for the common good of Rockford. "Everyone can work together," Hennis says. "Everyone can do their own thing and grow together. So I think if everyone is creating this experience than we are going to get more people downtown and want to live downtown or work and start their own business."
A spirit that has suited a blue collar city, in premium made shirts.