1st food trucks, now T-shirt trucks? Fresh Brewed Tees owner adds retail truck in downtown Cleveland

CLEVELAND - The birth of food trucks in Cleveland a couple years has sparked a whole new concept on wheels – a T-shirt truck.

Tony Madalone, the owner of Fresh Brewed Tees – a Cleveland-based and -focused clothing operation – announced he's expanding his business to include a retail truck.

Madalone, who owns a store at the South Park Mall in Strongsville, said he's been looking for a retail location in Cleveland's hot spots – East 4th/Gateway, Warehouse District, Ohio City, Tremont, etc. – and couldn't decide on which one.

"So we got creative and thought, ‘what if we go where the people are?!'" Madalone posted online.

The company purchased a box truck that looks similar to a food truck, but it's looking for help from Clevelanders to help get it "street ready." He's hoping to get $5,000 in the next 24 days, and has already raised more than $1,600.

Madalone turned to Kickstarter – a crowd-funding website that allows people to provide financial backing for a project in return for something from the owner if and when the project meets its goal.

For instance, those donating $5 or more will get a Fresh Brewed Tees truck sticker, and those giving $50 or more will get: a high five, cool sticker, invite to cookout party and a limited edition T-shirt.

According to an article in Cleveland Magazine , Madalone is working with Cleveland City Councilman Joe Cimperman to pass legislation to allow such a truck during major events in the city.

"The biggest challenge we'll face is getting permission from the city of Cleveland to sell from the truck on city streets in the central business district," wrote Madalone on the Kickstarter page. "We're currently able to sell in private lots with permission from the lot owner and a $300+ permit per location, but we'd need the city to change the laws in order for us to sell on the street like food trucks. Help make this dream a reality and sign our petition and contact our local leaders!"

Food trucks faced a similar battle when they first started popping up in downtown Cleveland, and Cimperman worked with council to come up with a plan that would allow the trucks to operate in some areas.

Check out Madalone's Kickstarter page and video pitch here: http://on.wews.com/U3YYko

For Madalone's tee shirt online catalog and purchases go to: www.freshbrewedtees.com or find them on Facebook at: www.facebook.com/freshbrewedtees and also on Twitter at: @freshbrewedtees

What do you think about the concept? Chime in via the comment box below?

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