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T-Shirts Etc.

It takes a community to build a business, Brian Kemp says at 25th Anniversary of T-Shirts Etc.

By Howard B. Owens

At 10 years old, throwing a baseball against the wall of a brick building, Brian Kemp never imagined he would someday own a 25-year-old business making custom T-shirts and that he would also own that building on Center Street, as well.

It's all very humbling, said Kemp, a Batavia HS graduate who spent much of his youth living in a house on School Street with a backyard that abuts the building that now houses T-Shirts Etc.

"To think like, I'm probably driving the people inside the building crazy," Kemp said during a 25th Anniversary celebration for T-Shirts Etc. on Thursday evening. "I'm not thinking of it as a kid like that but now if somebody started throwing a ball against my wall, I might say, 'Hey, what's going on?' you know. But I would have a little empathy for him because I did it, too."

Kemp and a partner, with the help of his girlfriend at the time, started T-Shirts Etc on the third floor of the Harvester Center three years after Kemp graduated from high school.  Soon they moved into a larger space on the first floor, then to the former WBTA building at Harvester and East Main, then to the former Newberry's building (now Eli Fish) on Main Street, and finally to his current location at 37 Center St.

A lot of people -- a whole community, really -- he said, helped him reach this milestone.  He gave credit to his former partner John, his former girlfriend, Heather, and to his ex-wife, Beth Kemp.

"Beth and I were married for seven or eight years," Kemp said. "We're not married anymore but it was a great time that helped me turn the business into where we are today. We moved the company three times, so she was a very integral part of the business."

Kemp also said he couldn't sustain any success without his employees.

"I have a great crew that has weathered the storm of the last few years," he said. "My current crew consists of my son Parker who runs the print production department, Melissa Flint, who runs the embroidery, shipping, and receiving departments and lastly, Mikah Burdic who is currently working as a production assistant.  I am truly honored to work daily with my crew that puts in the work on a daily basis, producing quality products for our customers.  I come here to the shop, hang out and make stuff, and these people make it enjoyable."

His younger sons, Myloh, 10, and Aslan, are also helping out in the shop these days, he said.

He noted that a lot of his customers were at the celebration.  

"All these relationships with our business are personal and have all impacted on my life," Kemp said. "I've got these great boys and this amazing business that we call home here in Batavia. We got our own little piece of Batavia. It's been fantastic."

Photos by Howard Owens.  Top photo, Kemp, left, with Tom Turnbull, Chamber of Commerce interim president.

Sponsored Post: Submit your work today for the Table Top Art show

By Lisa Ace

The TableTop ArtShow is a one-of-a-kind art show that runs yearly in the month of March. The show was conjured up during a brainstorming session involving Melissa Flint and Brian Kemp. The duo was talking it up about how to bring art to the people during the height of COVID when no shows were taking place.  With Galleries being closed due to the pandemic, the duo came up with the idea of placing the show right in front of an audience. Restaurants had just re-opened with guidelines that were prohibitive to a traditional gallery show of any kind. "Put it on placemats," Melissa says. And, Boom!!! The TableTop ArtShow was conceived.

The show now consists of area artists submission of up to 3 pieces of art. All artwork submitted is featured in the virtual portion of the show that can be viewed on the worldwide web. 15 of the submitted pieces are selected by the TableTop ArtShow crew to be featured in a gallery show located on the walls of Eli Fish Brewing in Downtown Batavia. Cash Prizes will be awarded to the 1st ($200), 2nd ($100), and 3rd ($50) place winners from the TableTop ArtShow pieces. There will also be a Cash Prize for the Peoples Choice Award selected from all entries: online voting will take place from March 1st - March 31st.

This March, we invite you to take part in this unique event. Visit our site to view the virtual show, visit a participating restaurant to check out the TableTop ArtShow, and/or swing by Elif Fish Brewing to view the 15 actual pieces of art.

If you're an artist or know any, please submit to the show and/or spread the word about this opportunity. Visit our Facebook (@TableTopArtShow) page or our website @  

We also have sponsorship opportunities available.  Please email Brian at if you’re interested in sponsoring this unique event.  Sponsors will have an ad on the TableTop ArtShow, a linked logo on our website, and a logo on any swag that can be purchased through the site as well.  

If you own a restaurant and would like to take part, please send a message to Brian at and we can add you to the list of over 20 participating restaurants. Restaurant participation is at no cost.  We just ask that you display the TableTop ArtShow on your tabletops for the month of March.  

We would love your support as events like this do not happen without the support of our community. Thank you and Enjoy the Show!

Three shops: One goal, supporting the local community

By Howard B. Owens

Three local companies that normally compete with each other have come together to support the community and Batavia High School Students by creating and printing a series of T-shirts that feature the Blue Devils logo.

The shirts are being produced and sold in cooperation with BHS by Extreme Streetwear, John’s Studio and T-Shirts Etc.

Each shop created its own design. The options included short sleeve T-shirts, long sleeve T-shirts, crew neck sweatshirts, and hooded sweatshirts.

The shirts can be purchased online at an online team store.

The store will be open until May 31. Once closed, each shop will have one week to produce their apparel. There will be shipping available via UPS as well as local pickup option at BHS on June 6.

The store owners, in a statement, said they came together to highlight a local option for branded and commemorative apparel and encourage people to shop local. 

Especially in these times, we all feel that shopping local is essential. COVID-19 brought with it so many uncertainties, trials, and hardships, but what has remained consistent is the loyalty and strength in our local business community.

Collaborative effort turning hog pens into bike racks for Downtown Batavia

By Howard B. Owens

About a year ago, after Brooks Hawley moved into a family home in the Town of Batavia, with the help of Brian Kemp, Kemp asked if there was anything on the old farm that might be suitable as bike racks for Downtown Batavia.

Two weeks later, Hawley showed up at Kemp's shop with four hog farrowing pens in his pickup truck.

Kemp, co-owner of T-Shirts Etc., is an artist who specializes in turning found objects into art and he thought the pens just might work.

Kemp started talking to anybody he could about helping out with the project. He knew he needed people who could work with metal and weld and had the equipment to do it.

"As with all of my projects, mention it to enough people and sure enough, someone will bite," Kemp said.

One day, Tim Gleba, a machine shop instructor at Batavia CTE (BOCES) came into Kemp's shop to pick monogrammed shirts and Kemp told him about the bike rack project.

Gleba immediately saw the potential for the school to get involved, so for the past several weeks, students in four different programs have been converting the pens into bike racks to be placed around downtown Batavia.

The project brings together students from the machine shop, welding, auto body, and conservation.

James Roggow, a student from Byron-Bergen, designed and fabricated finials to cap the bench arms, and other students are fabricating other parts for the racks and bench, including filigree end pieces for the bench (only one of the racks will have a park bench attached); welding is putting the pieces together; auto body students will paint the metal; and the conservation students logged a tree and made planks from it for the bench seat and back.

Auto body instructor Jeff Fronk saw the project as a perfect community contribution for his students.

"I thought it was cool," Fronk said. "These are going to be around the city for a long time. When these guys become young adults and have families of their own they can say, you know what, I did that. We did that in our class."

Fronk said he's really into color and what colors mean. He said he's always associated the color blue with Batavia, so the benches, he said, will be painted in a metallic blue that fades into a metallic orange.  Blue, because it symbolizes peace, harmony and unity, and orange because it symbolizes balance and warmth.

Kemp said he's looking forward to seeing the bike racks installed Downtown.

"I’m excited to see the progress of this project, along with the amount of collaboration it has taken to pull this together," Kemp said. "We are blessed to live in a community like this."

Graham Manufacturing is also assisting with the project.

Top photo: Three of the machine shop students who worked on the project with the first bench that is near completion, Arden Schadt, left, Evan Bartz, and James Roggow.

Below, one of the finials for the bench and a picture of the design on a computer.

This is what the pen looked like when it arrived at the machine shop (photo courtesy Tim Gleba).

T-Shirts Etc. celebrates 20th anniversary

By Howard B. Owens

Twenty years ago, Brian and Beth Kemp went into the T-shirt printing business with a shop in the Harvester Center. Over 20 years, the business has grown, moving to bigger locations along the way, from Harvester and Main, to the former Newberry's Building on Main Street, to a large building on Center Street.

The Kemps celebrated the 20th Anniversary of T-Shirt's Etc. last night with an open house. Visitors were treated to hors d'oeuvres, a chance to print the back of their own T-shirt, see beanies embroidered and receive another commemorative T-shirt and glass.

Sponsored Post: Join the Batavia Volleyball League!

By Lisa Ace

New Batavia Volleyball League starting up. Seeking Intermediate Co-ed teams for the winter session starting Thursday nights January 22nd thru March 26th. Team sign-up packets available at T-Shirts Etc. 111 Main St. Batavia. Get your team in!! Contact Beth or Brian Kemp for more info: 345-1993.

Sponsored Post: Color your own Christmas T-shirt this Friday at T-Shirts Etc.!

By Lisa Ace

Come down to T-Shirts Etc., 111 Main St., during Christmas in the City and have your kids color their own Christmas T-shirt! Shirts are $3 each and can be colored anytime from 5 to 9 p.m. during the event. All proceeds to benefit Don Carroll’s Toys for Kids toy drive.

T-Shirts Etc. is also offering:
  • Free basket raffle entries;
  • Huge Clearance Blowout with T-shirts priced at 3 for $10, sweatshirts are 2 for $20;
  • Buy One Get One 1/2 off on TE24 limited edition apparel line. Some new designs include Batavia Blue Devils, Cancer Sucks, Notre Dame, Le Roy, Pembroke, Batavia New York;
  • $10 personalization on any Christmas stockings brought in;
  • Butterfly Studios, a local vendor, will also be on site offering pottery for sale!

Dancing Derrick does his thing for T-Shirts Etc.

By Howard B. Owens


It's not every day that you drive down Main Street and see somebody playing full-on heavy metal air guitar, but that's what I saw today in front of T-Shirt's Etc. on Main Street.

It was Dancing Derrick, whom I've never heard of before, but apparently he is well known in the region. Several people honked their horns and shouted out, "Hey, Derrick" as they drove past.

Derrick, a Holly resident, said he's trying to make a career of dancing in front of businesses as a promotional attraction. T-Shirts Etc. owner Brian Kemp confirmed he hired Dancing Derrick to draw attention to his store.

UPDATE: Here's a video from YouTube of Dancing Derrick.


Snowman stands proud on Main Street Batavia

By Philip Anselmo

We spied this snowman built up out front of T-shirts Etc. on Main Street Batavia earlier today and thought to take a photo.

Let's call this a challenge to all Main Street merchants. Bring out your snowmen!

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