GIRARD – As an entrepreneur, Linda Barton has found it pays to have Good Humor.
Barton, a West Middlesex resident, owns Girard-based New Dawn Design, which snagged the licensing right to produce T-shirts for this year’s 100th anniversary of Good Humor. While the ice cream brand has a wide-ranging reputation, it has ties to the region.
“Most people don’t realize Good Humor got started in Youngstown,” Barton said.
Barton, a New Jersey native, has a marketing background. She and her husband, Scott, arrived in the Shenango Valley in 1997. Barton established New Dawn in 2008. The retail part of her business is run through an affiliated company, Sweet Memories Vintage Tee Designs.
Scott said there’s no question about who is in charge of the business.
“I’m one of her employees,’’ he said.
Barton’s company produces graphic designs and then uses its silk screening operations to place it on items including as T-shirts.
In addition to T-shirts, the company affixes designs to sweat shirts and one-piece infant wear. New Dawn branches out even further with banners, stickers and vinyl signs.
She also markets licensed T-shirts for minor league baseball teams including the Mahoning Valley Scrappers, Akron RubberDucks and the Lehigh Valley Iron Pigs. It also counts minor league hockey teams, such as the Youngstown Phantoms and Erie Otters, among her clients.
“A majority of what we do is for sports and fundraising,’’ Barton said.
On Friday her company launched its online store on Amazon.
Good Humor was founded in the early 1920s by Youngstown businessman Gary Burt. The business is now owned by Unilever, a giant in the consumer products industry. The company owns such well-known brands such as Dove soap, Lipton tea and Breyers ice cream.
Dealing with such a huge company meant getting the final deal took an enormous amount of work.
Barton said she told Good Humor representatives T-shirts would be a good addition to their consumer clothing line – as she did with professional sports franchises.
“But they told me, ‘We don’t have a clothing line,’ ‘‘ she said.
With that realization, both sides realized they had to start from scratch.
Barton created a business plan, signed a manufacturer’s agreement with Good Humor and sent them product samples.
“We had a conference call every other week on what they wanted for their line,’’ she said.
Barton, also an artist, created T-shirt designs that ranged from old-fashioned signs to retro-60s. In all, there are 12 different styles of Good Humor shirts.
“When people look at this, there’s something for everybody,’’ she said of the collection.
The Good Humor T-shirts cost $25, with 20 percent of proceeds going to Akron Children’s Hospital.
During the early years, Barton said the business was seasonal.
“After Christmas to Valentine’s Day it was a ghost town,’’ she said.
But reaching out for more licensing deals has the business running full blast year round.
Sports teams and company’s latch on to apparel marketing because it gets their name out there, Barton said.
“A T-shirt is a walking billboard,’’ she said.