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'I Will Breathe': Black-owned store empowers others through T-shirt designs

Tina Locurto
York Dispatch

An up-and-coming small business owner had his first big break after receiving 6,000 orders in July from a single company for his T-shirt design, "I Will Breathe."

Aaron Brown, the owner of Bulldog's Sportswear & Apparel, opened his West York business in December but had to shut down in March because of the coronavirus pandemic. Then, when he was allowed to reopen, a wave of protests rocked the country and inspired his next custom design.

Brown said his "I Will Breathe" design is influenced by George Floyd, a Black man who died in May after a white police officer allegedly cut off his air flow by kneeling on his neck. Nationwide protests of violence by police against people of color have continued since then.

"I got thinking about it and said, 'How about say, I will breathe,'" Brown said. "I feel we shouldn't beg for the same rights as everyone else."

Customer Louie Rivera looks through shirts at Bulldog Sportswear, 1501 W. Market Street, West York, Monday, August 10, 2020.
John A. Pavoncello photo

Along with his "I Will Breathe" design, Brown heavily focuses his custom T-shirts on empowerment and supporting Black individuals, with designs such as "Remember Black Wall Street" and "Black Lives Matter."

In addition to custom designs, Bulldog's Sportswear & Apparel, 1501 W. Market St., offers a variety of workout gear and fitness equipment.

"I'm out here for equality and justice," Brown said, adding that it feels good to have the support of the York County community.

Aiming to give back, Brown dedicates time to serving the community and doing charity work. 

Several times each month, Brown and other representatives of Bulldog's Sportswear & Apparel volunteer at Asbury United Methodist Church, 340 E. Market St.

In addition to supplying clothing for individuals in need, Brown also assists the church with providing breakfast and dinner. 

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More:Wide shift in opinion on police, race rare in U.S. polling

Though Brown only recently opened his business, he's confident in his continued success — especially after the 6,000-shirt order. 

"I felt great because I felt like that order right there helped get me out of the pandemic," he said.

Bulldog's Sportswear & Apparel is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday to Friday and from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturdays.

On Sundays, the business is open from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Morning Star Marketplace, located at 5309 Lincoln Highway.

"We have dreams. We have visions," Brown said. "I wish to say one day this could be something like Dick's Sporting Goods, and it starts with the community."

— Reach Tina Locurto at tlocurto@yorkdispatch.com or on Twitter at @tina_locurto.