Even now in the rainy season, it’s easy to love the South Sound, and these local people are showing off their love in style. Whether it’s an amazing shot of Mount Rainier…
South Sound Together has spent five years investing in and celebrating community. The South Sound Proud and Live Like the Mountain’s Out campaigns are one way the group has tried to illustrate the emotional and intellectual energy that enlivens the spirit of the region. However, bringing this tangible format to life was the work of many people and local businesses contributing their talents, resources and passion for community.
Gail Ringrose, owner of T Town Apparel, a local screen printing and embroidery shop, has helped to infuse the area with the South Sound Proud logo. Residents can find it on everything from wine glasses and mugs to their neighbor’s fleece and even pet scarves. Plus for every item purchased through its website, Ringrose donates 20 percent of sales to the effort.
“We do printing for many artists, and our standard royalty fee is 20 percent of the profit,” Ringrose explains. “Since these were not my designs, I felt there should be something for the work that had already been done.”
These efforts have so far raised enough funds to purchase more than 10,000 window clings to welcome new families to Joint Base Lewis–McChord military installation home. Products have also been donated to local auctions, as well as provided on set for photoshoots that will further the South Sound Proud mission.
The mission is something Ringrose truly believes in, offering her services when she found out the group did not have access to a local printer. Originally, “they did not know of a local source that could give them an online store and fulfill the orders and shipping,” she says. She mentioned she could and became the official link to goods online.
Her hope is that the campaign would move more people to the South Sound Proud website for more information and sharing, while garnering some great gear along the way.
“We have added, ‘Bike,’ ‘Wag’ and ‘Love’ Like the Mountain is Out to the mix,” she says, mentioning that there are other makers in Tacoma who have made signs, clocks and other items they sell to support the cause, as well. “Every design is awesome in its own way,” Ringrose adds.
She encourages people to download the South Sound Proud logos to spread the vibe. “I hope that it continues to bring awareness of the pride we have in our area,” she says.
While South Sound Proud is a movement that stretches across the region, CRAFT.19 Espresso + Crêperie in Sumner, created a central point for community members to both visit and share their enthusiasm for with the world.
Michael Hochstatter, the cafe manager, worked with a small crew of fellow enthusiasts to create the now-well-known mural on the brick wall of CRAFT.19 Espresso + Crêperie. It is a perfect example of the open-source nature of the South Sound Proud campaign.
“It was voted ‘selfie site’ of Pierce county,” he says. “It has the most pictures on Instagram and Facebook from the city of Sumner.” He says it has also become the go-to location for senior portraits and group photos. “It has been fun to see it take off and become a community gathering spot.”
Hochstatter is no stranger to participating in organizations that foster community; he plays in a local band, heads up the organization Colossal Soul, serves as the chair of the Sumner Arts Commission and runs the @SumnerTownUSA social media handle. These undertakings brought the South Sound Proud organization to Hochstatter’s door as a candidate for amplifying its mission. And so he did, with the help of the cafe.
“It is cool we get to participate in something that fosters community, that unifies the whole region…more than just the immediate city,” he says.
“South Sound is only getting more and more popular, and, with that, we hope we have healthier and stronger communities with this effort.”
To learn more about organizations supporting the South Sound community, visit SouthSoundProud.org.