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A Trip, A Book Store and A Backpack. How It All Started.

A long time ago in a state far, far away, Don and Sharman visited the University of California, Berkeley. While enjoying some time around the campus, they noticed that a lot of the students were carrying their books on their backs in canvas backpacks. Carrying your books on your back, hands free was a terrific idea, especially while riding a bicycle. It was 1971 and Don and Sharman had just graduated from FSU. They took a road trip that began in Miami, went up the east coast, all the way across Canada, down the west coast and back through the south to Florida, visiting various university campuses along the way. They had not seen anything like these packs in all their travels.



It didn't take them long to look at each other and say "we could make these". The print on the bags they were seeing directed them to Cody's Bookstore where they bought themselves a backpack prototype. Sharman could sew just about anything, and one of Don's first jobs as a kid was in a screen printing shop. So that was it, the spark that ignited a lifetime family business.



When they returned home from their three month long trip they ordered a roll of canvas and a friend helped them make a silk screen frame. They set up shop in Don's parents kitchen in Miami.

Sharman made the first bag and Don gave it a try, but rather than filling it with books, he gave their cat "Sylvester J. Putty Cat" a ride. As you can see, he loved it.



Since bicycle shops seemed to be the perfect market for the backpacks, Sharman drew an image of an antique high-wheel bike and they printed it on a sample bag. They sold their very first order to The Great Bicycle Shop right here in Tallahassee.



They then expanded into health food stores around Miami and Coconut Grove making shoulder strap bags for groceries. They showed their bags to The Oak Feed Store in the Grove who was ready to place an order, not for canvas bags but for T-shirts. That was the real beginning of their t-shirt printing adventure.


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