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The T-Shirt Crews in Support of Local Businesses


If it’s Friday at First Bank’s Albemarle branch on Highway 52, that means it’s t-shirt time for the staff. But not just any cotton pullovers will do. The shirts you’ll see are created by and branded for one of the small businesses in the area.

Anne Penney, Branch Manager at Hwy 52, says the idea, which was a suggestion from a customer, started to take shape in May of 2014.  “We thought it was a fantastic idea,” she says. “To be fair, we wear the shirts on a first-come, first-served basis, and once we have been through them all, we start the cycle over again.”

Many customers stop in on Fridays just to see whose shirts the employees are wearing.  Crystal Thompson owns Advertise It in Norwood, NC, one of the participating businesses. “It is amazing what First Bank is offering with advertising opportunities for their customers,” says Thompson. “It means a lot to know that our bank is just as excited about our business as we are.”

Shirted team members post new pictures in the branch lobby every week to further show their support and to set up a fun display. There are currently more than 20 businesses in the area that are participating, and they expect more will follow suit.

The idea spreads

Inspired by their colleagues in Albemarle, the branch associates in Beaufort, NC have also started sporting some new T’s on Fridays as well. “Since we have started doing this, I have a lot more chit chat going on in the branch,” says Melissa Burhenne, First Bank Customer Service Representative in Beaufort. “Even non-customers are very curious because people normally see us dressed up, so it is an obvious conversation starter.”

In addition to the shirts, the Beaufort branch has the business’ cards or flyers on hand for interested visitors. So far, it’s been as successful in their town as it is in Albemarle. “We have at least 4 more businesses who have ordered shirts for us,” says Burhenne.

With such a warm reception at both branches, soon the only problem the teams might have is drawer space!

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