Over the last several days, I have watched with intrigue the controversy over the Waterloo t-shirts that were printed by RAYGUN (all in capital letters) and their owner Mike Draper. I will disclose that I know most of the staff that works for RAYGUN and they are respectable and fun-loving individuals who love their job and their store.
I find it amusing that out of all of the cities that has had t-shirts printed out for them (, , Ames, and Decorah), not one city leader or citizen from these respective cities have publicly voiced their displeasure. Secondly, the slogans are all in good-natured humor. I clearly understand your displeasure in it, but don’t you think that there is some truth to it? Your city (my hometown) has been the center of a recent rash of criminal activity from drug busts to fights. As a former policeman, you know all of this too well, as much as I do growing up in Waterloo.
In my opinion, Waterloo has to do more to show that it’s a good city and is working hard to evolve from a blue-collar industrial town to a progressive community that exudes quality of life. The CVB does a phenomenal job of promoting Waterloo, but they should not be the only ones to get the word out. City leaders, business leaders, and the citizens have to help change that, and if most of them don’t, Waterloo will continue to remain “stuck in neutral” as, Des Moines, and Dubuque continue to flourish.
If there was one thing that has come out of this, Waterloo, to me, has to do more in the area of public relations. Ask anyone who does not live in Waterloo their impression of the city and the response will mirror the slogan that was printed up about Waterloo. As a native Waterlooian, I can’t help but to agree with it.
It is with this in mind that I feel that the city of Waterloo and you can turn this story into a huge “positive” by submitting a “fun” slogan to RAYGUN and Mr. Draper for them to print up for Waterloo. By positive, I define it as “catchy”, “funny”, “interesting”, and something that will get everyone’s attention when they think of Waterloo in a cool and positive manner.
My suggestion is “Waterloo: the home of Nothing Runs Like a Deere” as a homage to Waterloo being home several John Deere operations and as the largest employer in the city. Or “Sullivan-tough” to honor the Sullivan Brothers.
I’m confident that Mike and his staff would be more than willing to do it as a way to make amends, and in turn, help Waterloo change some of the long-term negative attitudes that has plagued it for nearly 50 years in respects to economic depression, racial strife, and pre-conceived mindsets.
Mayor Clark, please consider my suggestion and encourage the city council and your citizens to offer suggestions to RAYGUN. Not taking advantage of this would be missing out on a great opportunity to promote the good things that Waterloo is known for.
Until this incident, you may have never heard of RAYGUN and their apparel. I encourage you to please look at their website at https://raygunsite.com/ and look at the shirts they have done for other cities. They are an example of an upstart local business that has energized Des Moines in so many ways with their commitment to stay “local.”
Thank you very much for taking the time to read this. I really hope you will contact Mike and take advantage of this great opportunity.
A Waterloo native