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Raygun creates Cedar Rapids flood-themed shirts, donates proceeds

'No matter what (a situation) is, we've found ways to joke about it'

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CEDAR RAPIDS — Peace. Love. Sandbag.

Raygun is helping with flood clean up by providing a little humor for Cedar Rapids residents and donating proceeds of flood-related T-shirts to the NewBo District to help fund clean up efforts.

While the Des Moines-based T-shirt company prints clothing with local sayings or relatable jokes about Iowa issues, the idea to create flood-themed shirts came while employees were sandbagging at the Cedar Rapids store, owner Mike Draper said.

“We’ve done lots of topical shirts over the years, but once you have a store in the flood plain, it gives you a little more street cred to make flood shirts,” he said. ”No matter what (a situation) is, we’ve found ways to joke about it.”

The Cedar Rapids store, 1028 Third St. SE, is elevated more than other businesses in NewBo, but Draper said he still wanted to inject humor into the flood clean up efforts to stave off stress.

The new batch of T-shirts sayings, such as ‘Peace. Love. Sandbag.’, also include:

— Cedar Rapids: Is the city half empty or is it half full?

— Cedar Rapids: May be snorkel weather

— Cedar Rapids: So ... about those flood prevention measures ...

— Cedar Rapids: Above water and loving it.

“There is a feeling like, ‘How does this happen every few years?’” Draper said. “Some of them are meant to be funny, some a little more pointed. There’s a lot tied into it.

“The city did a great job as to organization and planning with the tools they had, but there’s still something to be said about federal funding.”

Thomas Somphanthabansouk, store manager at the Cedar Rapids Raygun, said the store already had sold about 130 flood-themed T-shirts by Monday since the store reopened at 3 p.m. Friday.

Customers can buy the T-shirts for $21, and Somphanthabansouk said the store will be getting another shipment of shirts later this week. The shirts also are available online at https://www.raygunsite.com/products/flood-2016.

“People like to come in and shoot out ideas (for flood T-shirts), too,” he said. “They have a nice little laugh.”

All proceeds for the shirts will be donated to NewBo District to help pay for repairs and clean up. Draper said he expects that will be a few thousand dollars.

“When you have a business in the area, you have a lot more vested in it and tied up in it,” he said. “We try to keep things as local to our tiny neighborhood as much as possible. You know how much work it is on everybody’s part to take a neighbored succeed, and it takes a lot of work from dozens of stores.”

See also: 20+ ways to support flood-impacted businesses

For all of The Gazette's Flood 2016 coverage, please visit our flood coverage center.

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