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Love of U.P. sparks start of clothing line

Gary Campioni, left, and Matt Palomaki.

FLINT — Two friends who met while attending Northern Michigan University have just created an online T-shirt and apparel company aimed at their love for Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

Matt Palomaki from Marquette and Gary Campioni from Dollar Bay said it all started over a Facetime cup of coffee. Before the second cup, they had an idea, a business plan and product designs.

In a release, Campioni said, “There is no place on earth like the U.P. We have our Great Lakes, hiking and biking trails, mountains and the Northern Lights. But really what makes the U.P. so special is the people.”

The two both moved away from the U.P. after graduating from NMU for employment and they relish their return trips home. Campioni said, “When you meet someone from the U.P. there is an instant connection, an instant bond, it’s like we’re in on the same secret. We were just raised differently in a unique place. Maybe it’s because we had to shovel 300 inches of snow each year and we were taught to stop and help push someone out of a snow drift, because we might be the ones stuck tomorrow.”

When asked to describe what U.P.-ness is, Campioni stated, “When you have it you know it. It’s really what’s at your core, it’s what’s inside of you. Sometimes it is easier to show it, than it is to describe it.”

The question is posed and answered on the website, ShowUPness.com:When does U.P.-ness show? It shows when I am sitting in my deer blind… It shows when I stare at the Northern Lights.”

They are excited to have website up and running, with plenty of time to help celebrate 9-0-6 Day, Sept. 6.

Visit their website: www.showupness.com.

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