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Parish T-shirts a big hit for Little Roads

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Pride in parishes: Ashley Stephens with the Sandys T-shirt, one of the nine parish T-shirts on sale at Little Roads Bermuda, on Court Street (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

When asked where they are from, US tourists often respond with a specific state or place, rather than just saying the name of the country.

But when a visitor asks a Bermudian the same question, the answer is mostly “Bermuda.”

Now that could be about to change thanks to the creation of a set of T-shirts and accessories that each represent one of the island’s nine parishes.

The idea is among many that are helping Little Roads Bermuda, on Court Street, to differentiate itself from other shops that cater for visitors and locals.

Each parish has a different coloured T-shirt, for instance Hamilton Parish is yellow, and Sandys is red. They feature the name of the parish and an outline of the district. There are matching hats and other accessories to go along with the shirts.

The T-shirts are designed to make it easier for Bermuda’s people to have the pride in the exact part of the island they call home, and to be something that a tourist or visitor might want as a keepsake – perhaps as a reminder of a parish where they stayed.

Shop owner Earlette Stephens, explained that she had met North American visitors who wanted to know where she came from – not just that she was from Bermuda – and so evolved the idea for individual parish T-shirts.

It should be no surprise that innovative, fresh ideas can be found at Little Roads Bermuda, as Ms Stephens’ daughter Ashley is one of Bermuda’s most widely-known entrepreneurs thanks to the Ashley’s Lemonade stands she started when she was 7, more than a decade ago.

There is a display of Ashley’s Lemonade items in the store, including brightly coloured cups and bottles, together with metal and glass straws. When The Royal Gazette visited the store, Ashley was helping to serve customers eager to purchase their parish T-shirt.

Ms Stephens has 20 years of experience in retail. Little Roads Bermuda opened on January 3 last year, but the business had hardly got under way when the Covid-19 pandemic hit.

The store started out with fun T-shirts and hats, and also print tapestries, which were an unexpected hit during the pandemic as customers bought the brightly-coloured items so that they could use the material to create face masks.

The pandemic experience, and the many changes to retail rules, including mandatory closures, kerbside and delivery only, social distancing and face masks, has been a challenge.

Ms Stephens said: "Covid has pushed me to have faith and don't give up. You have to be creative. I've been able to post about the shop on Facebook and Instagram.

"You have to advertise. People are travelling less and they are looking to support Bermuda businesses. If you can offer different items, the people will come."

She said it was also important to be able to offer something to tourists from a different part of Hamilton, beyond the staples of Front Street.

She said Ed Christopher, the town crier, does walking tours around the city, and she hopes that groups who come along Court Street might pop in to see what is on offer, and learn about the island's parishes from the T-shirts and the conversations they spark.

Ms Stephens also believes the parish-centric T-shirts and hats can help educate residents and students about their island home, and have pride in the district to which they most identify. Anyone who buys a T-shirt also gets a gift postcard that features all the parishes, together with a stamp, so they can post it to a friend or relative – on-island or overseas – to help spread knowledge about Bermuda’s parishes.

And Ms Stephens is willing to help schools use the postcards as a teaching aid.

Little Roads Bermuda has many other interesting items for sale, including wall hangings and many types of dreamcatchers.

Ms Stephens said: “Little Roads is about fun and bits of history. We are encouraging people to talk about the history of Bermuda."

Little Roads Bermuda is at 55 Court Street, near the junction with Victoria Street. It is open from Monday through Saturday 11am to 6.30pm. It has some flexibility, and can do deliveries. Little Roads Bermuda can be found on Facebook and Instagram.

Items for sale at Little Roads Bermuda (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
Ashley’s Lemonade cups for sale at Little Roads Bermuda (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
Items for sale at Little Roads Bermuda (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
Blue is the colour: Ashley Stephens wears the Pembroke T-shirt, one of the nine parish t-shirts for sale at Little Roads Bermuda (Photograph by Akil Simmons)
Little Roads Bermuda is at 55 Court Street, near the junction with Victoria Street (Photograph by Akil Simmons)

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Published May 27, 2021 at 8:00 am (Updated May 26, 2021 at 7:59 pm)

Parish T-shirts a big hit for Little Roads

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