Survive Chiberia? Brag With a Sweatshirt

Bernie DiMeo, the founder of Rocco Shirts, offers this advice to small business: "Timeliness is everything."

If you're reading this and you were in Chicago this week, you lived through some pretty brutal weather.


How about bragging about it with a sweatshirt?

Not three days after record-breaking cold gripped the Chicago area, a local online retailer came out with an "I survived Chi-Beria, 2014" sweatshirt.

"Timeliness is everything. You need to be able to jump on stuff quick," said Bernie DiMeo, the founder of Rocco Shirts.

Indeed, the website lists items several Chicago-centric wearables focusing on sports and politics. One, which combines the logos of the Blackhawks, Bears and Bulls, references the injuries which have plagued those teams in their most-recent seasons. It proclaims that the City of Big Shoulders is actually the City of Big Crutches.

The "Chi-Beria" shirts went on sale on Thursday. DiMeo said "about 20 orders" were placed online by 9 a.m. Friday

The original idea came from a graphic DiMeo said he saw online. He gave that inspiration to an art director who finalized the idea: a snow-flake covered Chicago skyline with a thermometer with a sub-zero reading.

DiMeo launched the family-owned business about four years ago after working for an advertising agency for a couple of decades. He said the company was "doing well," and is currently focused on establishing additional corporate customers who can bring in larger orders.

The company's hottest item came shortly after the company launched, DiMeo said. Being alerted to the fact that the White Sox, the Bears and the Bulls had all won major titles in the last 25 years, the company crafted a shirt that honored the teams and poked a little bit of fun at the north side, too.

The shirt read,  "Chicago: City of Champions. ... and the Cubs."


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