Bloomington apparel designer celebrates store’s grand opening

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BLOOMINGTON, Ill. (WMBD) — Arthur Haynes is using his eye for artistry and fashion to make his mark in the Twin Cities.

“When I put it out to the public, you know people liked it, loved it and the rest is history,” Haynes said.

He is now celebrating the new home of Silverback Apparel Company and One Stop Print Shop. Haynes hosted the grand opening for his dual clothing and printing store in July, and he continues to reflect on the achievement.

“Being in this space that first night before the grand opening, I just kind of sat down and kind of took it all in and I just couldn’t stop the tears from flowing,” Haynes said. “It was just so surreal to actually have this space.”

It’s a dream turned reality that Haynes shares with his older brother Ricky, who is currently incarcerated.

“Basically this was an avenue, an idea, a business plan that my brother created as a way for me to generate funds for me to be able to take care of him and also my family without having to take from my family to take care of him,” Haynes said.

The pair’s passion for creativity helped launched their two-prong entrepreneurial endeavor.

“Just growing up around my brother being around him most of my life, you know a lot of his artistry rubbed off on me,” said Haynes. “I can draw as well and paint and pretty much anything that has to do with art I’m pretty good at, you know, and he’s a lot better than I am.”

The business has been 12 years in the making. The Chicago native who moved to Central Illinois in his teens said the idea came from humble beginnings.

“We started this company with literally like $60.”

arthur haynes

On New Year’s Day of 2015, Haynes said the Silverback Apparel brand launched. It consisted of Haynes wearing a prototype jogging suit to a New Year’s Day party and collecting orders that way.

“We didn’t have any inventory. We didn’t have any way. We didn’t know how we were going to make these 15 jogging suits, but we figured it out and that’s pretty much how this company started, literally,” he said.

As the brand got more attention, Haynes started filling orders out of his basement and even built a space in his backyard. While perfecting his craft through seminars, he continued to aspire for more.

“The way that I was being handled as a business owner was kind of different than other business owners because I did not have a brick and mortar. So people didn’t look at my business like a true business,” said Haynes.

Now with this recently opened storefront, Haynes’ persistence is holding true to the nature of the wild animal from which the company is named: a silverback gorilla.

Haynes said, “The brand represents resilience. You know bravery, strength, family orientation, all of the things that–the qualities of a silverback gorilla. The things that they display in their habitat.”

Silverback Apparel Company and One Stop Print Shop is located at 705 N. East St. in Bloomington.

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