The economic impacts of COVID-19 have been profound for states, businesses and families, especially those families directly impacted by lay-offs. Scott Thompson, a Belfield native, became all too familiar with that reality when after years of employment he found himself for the first time unemployed.
After being laid off from his sales representative position in Hudson, Wis., Thompson was in a situation he never thought he’d be in — a father without a job.
“It was just, ‘what do you next?’ I’ve never not had a job,” he said. “I’m a North Dakota farm boy, you just got to figure stuff out.”
Thompson used the otherwise negative situation as an opportunity to launch a Facebook page, ‘The Throwback Shirt Guy,’ and watched as business began to boom.
A lifelong fan of North Dakota high school sports, mascots and logos, Thompson levied his love of local sports into a retro t-shirt business that seeks to share his passion with others.
“Every time I do a shirt, I think ‘that’s my favorite logo,” Thompson said. “Then I’ll see another one and instantly think ‘that’s my new favorite.’ So, they really all are my favorites.”
Growing up, Thompson said that he loved seeing even the smaller communities around the Western Edge take pride in their own shared identities. Seeing smaller schools, like his alma mater in Belfield, support their team with bumper stickers, t-shirts and other flair.
To Thompson it was a shame when, as time went by, smaller schools decided to co-op or drop schools completely. Now he’s looking to bring spirit back to those long forgotten teams.
“I just love it when I hear from people that say, ‘our school’s been gone for so long, thanks for bringing it back with some pride’, he said. “We’re very proud of our towns and our sales show it.”
T-shirts can be purchased in all sizes from small to XL and are $25 per shirt, with larger T-shirts going for $30.
Thompson has sold countless shirts with the vintage Belfield Bantams, South Heart Eagles, Richardton Rebels, Taylor Redbirds, Glen Ullin Rattlers and more. With an ever expanding list of schools and former mascots, Thompson knows that demand for the shirts will only grow.
“Losing my job was one of the worst days of my life … but I would have never had the time to do this if I was still working at Rivertown,” Thompson said. “I loved my time at Rivertown, I love what I did at Rivertown, I loved working with my customers and I loved being able to create ads … and now and I can kind of do that for myself.”
As for the shirts, Thompson said that the designs are meant to breathe new life into an old logo through modernized designs with a retro style.
“I don’t want to do exactly like it was in 1979 when somebody stenciled it onto the court and hand drew it, I want to make it look like it was done today with modern technology,” He said. “When you see it, I want people to think, ‘that’s what I would want on my shirt today.”
Currently Thompson’s aspirations are to have shirts available for each of the 400 different schools, something he knows will take time and effort.
“Anybody could have done this … but who wants to do it for 400 different schools?” he said. “It’s not easy, I put in about 12-15 hour days … it’s exhausting, but I love it and I know people will too.”
For information on ordering, Thompson can be reached by calling or texting 715-441-1473; by messaging him on Facebook at the ‘Throwback Shirt Guy’ page; or through email at email@example.com