MARENGO – An entrepreneurial veteran has taken his plans to expand his Marengo apparel business directly to the community.
Noah Currier, founder and owner of Oscar Mike, a clothing store in Marengo, said a community-based donation drive is the ideal move for a business that prides itself on being all-American made. He plans to use the money to expand the store’s product line.
The former Marine, who served in Iraq in 2003, and his staff raised more than $48,900 through Thursday through Kickstarter.com, a crowd-sourcing website that funds creative projects.
Those donations would allow Oscar Mike to add a new line of T-shirts, but Currier hopes to raise $2 million by the campaign’s Aug. 16 end to add inventory including athletic gear, active wear and outdoor equipment.
“I don’t know if we will hit that mark or not. If it ended today, I wouldn’t lose sleep over it,” Currier said, noting that other Kickstarter campaigns have generated $1 million. “I’m actually proud of what we accomplished already, but I think we can do a lot more.”
One of Currier’s shirts received national attention in February after a teacher required 14-year-old Genoa Middle School student Michael McIntyre to turn it inside out. The teacher erroneously believed the U.S. Marines T-shirt that depicted intersecting rifles across the chest violated the school’s dress code.
Currier invited McIntyre and his father for a tour of the Marengo facility, and shared his story with them.
Formed on Veterans Day in 2011, Oscar Mike initially specialized in military-themed T-shirts. The name Oscar Mike comes from military radio jargon meaning “on the move.”
The business employs 11 people, eight of whom are veterans. Ten percent of gross sales also goes to the company’s nonprofit arm, the Oscar Mike Foundation, which sends disabled veterans to adaptive sporting events.
Currier, 31, is paralyzed as a result of a car accident three days after returning from combat in Iraq.
Eight years later, he and a friend hatched the clothing store idea as a way to support adaptive sporting competitions, with an emphasis on promoting products manufactured in the United States.
• Jillian Duchnowski contributed to this story.
How to help:
• Visit www.kickstarter.com/projects/oscarmike/oscar-mike-american-made-lifestyle-brand to learn more about Oscar Mike’s campaign to grow its business