Aprinta owner Billy Dolan solved two problems when he opened The Market Outlet in June: The new store filled a hole left in the community when Russell Retail closed, and it replaced revenue that Aprinta lost when four contractors stopped sending orders to the local apparel printer.
“We found a way to survive and to help the community, and that’s our goal,” said Bonnie Clarkston, manager at The Market Outlet. “We were able to move some positions around, and we still have the same number of employees. We can help the community with customized products and charity benefits.”
The outlet store, which is located next door to Aprinta’s main operation in the former Fruit of the Loom complex, offers T-shirts, shorts, stuffed animals and novelty items at bargain prices. In addition to shirts, shorts and uniforms, the store stocks hats, coolers, bags, polo shirts, wallets, aprons and umbrellas that could be personalized for local teams, special occasions or benefit events in the community.
“One of the benefits we are working on is raising money for a local boy who has cerebral palsy,” Clarkston said. “But we want to do more of that kind of thing. This is a community that has supported us, and we want to give back to the community, too.”
The store auctioned long-sleeved, hooded Ts with an exclusive design, as well as other items, to help the local child.
Clarkston said their apparel could be embroidered with custom graphics designed by in-house designer Jessica Stewart.
“We can design shirts for family reunions or weddings or other special occasions. We just need a minimum order of 10 of any one product,” she said.
Patriotic designs were big sellers over the summer, but popular items included physical education clothes, Clarkston said. The Market Outlet includes a Benjamin Russell High School corner, where patrons could purchase shirts, sweatshirts, shorts, pompoms and other BRHS emblazoned items.
The clothing is available in a variety of brand names and fabric blends, and new inventory arrives daily.
Most items in the store are priced very competitively, she said. Printed T-shirts are $10; blank Ts sell for $5 each. Polo shirts are $7. Bib aprons, suitable for the kitchen or the art room, are all priced under $5. Umbrellas are $6 and are available in a variety of colors, including team colors.
“The promo products can be custom printed, too,” Clarkston said.
“The store has helped us to diversify, to not rely too heavily on any one line of revenue but to get creative. We saw an opening when Russell Retail closed, and so many people in the area were upset about that. We are just glad that we could offer this to the community and use it to help our employees keep their jobs,” Clarkston said.
The store, located at 470 Joseph St., Alexander City, is open Wednesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and on Saturday from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Visit The Market Outlet on Facebook or call the store at 256-392-7563 for more information.