Entrepreneur launches collection of unique Rochester-themed merchandise
A Rochester designer has launched a new online store featuring a line of original clothing and accessories celebrating the "Spirit of Rochester."
The store went live about a month ago following a short test-run at a gift shop inside Mayo Clinic's Gonda Building. Founder Jeffrey Bell said his inspiration for the business came while looking for items to purchase inscribed with "Rochester, Minnesota." To his surprise, there weren't many options.
"So I started out just fooling around with a logo that I thought would appeal to a lot of people and could represent Rochester," said Bell.
The result was not only a logo, but an entire collection of merchandise — from shirts to coffee mugs to pillows — that Bell believes reflects the city's growing creative and entrepreneurial culture.
"They're designed by someone who lives in Rochester and loves Rochester," said Bell, who also owns a startup design company, Fuse Digital Creative Services. He previously spent 14 years in Mayo's creative department. "If you were to ask me, 'Do you think when you were 54 that you would start doing designs on dresses and women's wear,' I'd be like no way. But I love this stuff."
Designs range from the traditional, such a curved-bill baseball cap embroidered with Spirit of Rochester's trademark emblem, to the trendy, like custom leggings for each of the city's four high schools.
Bell hopes the products resonate with locals and visitors alike.
"When you travel somewhere — maybe it's my Midwestern background — but you typically want to bring something home," said Bell. "And especially if it's cool and it has a story, then there's meaning behind it."
You can view Spirit of Rochester's entire collection here.
(Cover graphic courtesy Fuse Digital)