This Local Printer Makes Rad T-Shirts to Raise Money for Small Businesses in ChicagoAudrey Snyderon May 4, 2020 at 4:48 pm

“We’re all in this together.” It’s a phrase you hear a lot these days— from corporations, arts organizations, celebrities, or maybe even your neighbors. Some people really put those words into practice, and a few of them happen to be the folks at Barrel Maker Printing.

Shortly after the cancelation and shut-down of many events and local small businesses in March, the printing operation—based in north suburban Buffalo Grove—established an online store selling T-shirts which tout their wearers’ support of a number of Chicago institutions.


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We are so grateful 🥰

A post shared by Barrel Maker Printing (@barrelmakerprinting) on Apr 30, 2020 at 8:46pm PDT


Barrel Maker was started in 2009 by Erin and Justin Moore and has been printing shirts since then for occasions and establishments both large and small. Knowing that many Chicagoans in the service industry were out of work— as well as the print shop’s similar position of reduced income— Barrel Maker employees connected with record stores, venues, restaurants, and more to coordinate the launch of their Saving Small Business Chicago online shop.


Participating businesses either submit artwork to be used for their shirt designs or are each paired with a Chicago artist to create a new design. For each T-shirt purchased, $10 is set aside for a fund to be split between all participating businesses. A few of the designs currently featured on the Barrel Maker’s online shop include shirts supporting Avondale music venue Sleeping Village, Logan Square’s Chicago Diner, Wicker Park gem Quimby’s Bookstore, and more.


Barrel Maker is also facilitating separate online platforms for businesses to sell merchandise and accept tips that can be used to specifically benefit their own furloughed workers. With so many out of work and in a holding pattern while they wait to see what comes next, those employed by these small businesses need all the help they can get— and thankfully, there are people like those at Barrel Maker Printing who are ready and eager to help.

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