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Printing companies assist struggling DMV businesses for free, despite their own losses

Two printing companies are now offering free banners and t-shirts to help local businesses struggling from an economic downturn, even though they also lost business.

WASHINGTON — With the economic downturn bringing concerns and challenges for local businesses, at least two printing companies in the DMV have offered free help to stores or restaurants in need.

After opening 35 years ago, Minuteman Press manager Mark Calis said that his company has experienced the economic hit firsthand.  

"About three weeks ago, business came to a complete stop," Callis said. "We are down 97%. There isn’t any printing going on."

Despite the impact on business, Calis said the longtime print company tried to find a way to assist others.

Minuteman Press has been offering free banners to companies in need.

"It's anything to let the outside know that they’re open and how they can reach them," he said. "We’re doing this to try and help these businesses. We want them to succeed." 

In Virginia, Rusty Pearson is also lending a helping hand to fellow businesses.

After starting the Virginia T-Shirt Company two years ago and mainly working with local schools and their sports teams, Pearson said that the company saw things come to a virtual standstill after the spread of coronavirus.

However, the company is now offering free t-shirts and designs to stores and restaurants to assist during the downturn.

All of the proceeds are split 50/50 and Pearson said over a dozen businesses have already taken part in the offer.

"The great thing is it’s no cost to the business," he said. "We make everything. We make the graphics. We buy the shirts." 

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As a fellow business owner, Pearson said that he wanted to work together to help stores and restaurants get through the tough times.

"It’s hard for those small business owners to come out and ask for help," he said. "We’re so used to doing it on our own." 

Moving forward, both Pearson and Calis said it was important for fellow companies to support one another.

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"The big takeaway is that we need to help each other," Pearson said. "Do as much as you can to help them and in return, they’re going to help somebody else and it’s just going to grow more." 

The Minuteman Press free banner offer will conclude April 10. 

According to Pearson, the Virginia T-Shirt Company will offer free shirts to local businesses until at least the end of May.

"Help others succeed," Calis said. "If everybody can do their part and try to do whatever they can to help, we can all make it through together." 

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