Rochester’s newest clothing store continues mission of giving back to community
After several years spent as a clothing producer for local businesses, PrintLocal becomes WearLocal, which offers retail merchandise.
ROCHESTER — When Ryan Froh began his clothing design business, PrintLocal, in 2015, he was always driven to return what he earned to the Rochester community. Now as PrintLocal becomes WearLocal, Rochester’s newest retail outlet store, Froh is striving to continue the same mission of giving back to the community.
“It's a different ballgame. We're used to doing bulk orders and we're used to printing volume. One of the reasons why I wanted to start retail was I wanted it to not just be locally themed with designs, but also, let people know where the money is going to and it's going back to the youth that are going to be in our shoes later on,” said Froh.
Over the last two and a half years, Froh has made a name for himself across Rochester in his partnerships with other local, small businesses. During the grand opening of WearLocal on Sept. 16, 2022, one of Froh’s many community business partners, Pasquale Presa of Pasquale’s Neighborhood Pizzeria , brought in his signature pizza for Froh’s employees and community members coming to see the new store.
Since PrintLocal opened in 2015, the business has always donated 50% of its proceeds to other local small businesses or charities. This same business model will be adapted with all clothing purchases in store. Presa said he's been impressed with the value of community partnerships Froh has established in the five years they have known each other.
“The great thing about Ryan is his whole mission is about giving back to the community. To the families that need something and Ryan has that heartfelt where he wants to be able to give back because he grew up with very little, and the same thing with me,” Presa said.
One way Froh and Presa are already planning to give back to the community as WearLocal enters the retail business is a coat, winter gear, and frozen meal drive this November. No official date has been scheduled for the drive yet, but Froh and Presa are aiming to have this drive for the week leading into Thanksgiving. The drive will either be hosted at Wearlocal or Pasquale’s.
As Froh’s business enters the retail market, one thing that has been important to make people aware of is knowing that they are purchasing what the brand believes in. Froh believes this rule of thumb applies to any retail brand and shared what he wants customers to know what his brand WearLocal believes in with their products.
“One thing that we just want people to know whenever they throw on WearLocal, when you're going through your closet, and you've seen what you're going to wear today, you're wearing something representing your community. Not just in the state of Minnesota but you're knowing that a kid's getting help that doesn't have much in your community. We're very transparent about where the money's going through,” said Froh.
The storefront of WearLocal is based on an open kitchen concept as people can see employees make the T-shirts, hats and other clothing merchandise behind the shelves. Not only is this applying to the operations of the store but also how Froh wants to offer internships for high school students in the community to have opportunities to grow outside the classrooms.
Froh has shared his ideas of the internship with Presa, who explained how the internships can play out.
“Ryan wants to do some open kitchen concept getting these kids into an entrepreneurship opportunity. There's kids that really excel in academics and there's kids that want to excel in visual or hands-on, and this type of work, a lot of it is hands-on, right. So you get to learn it from people that are stronger with hands and visualizing,” said Presa.
WearLocal will operate in the same business hours as PrintLocal, 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, closed Sunday. The merchandise floor provides clothing as part of their newest collection of shirts all based off of Minnesota and Rochester designs.