By Chelsea Lear-Ward, Staff Writer

Kyle Johnson and Abe Turcotte (photo courtesy of Chelsea Lear-Ward)

Kyle Johnson and Abe Turcotte (photo courtesy of Chelsea Lear-Ward)

After three unexpected,  impressive years of selling Down Town Farmington (DTF) shirts, it was clear to Down Town Graphics that in order to maintain sales, marketing was absolutely necessary.

   Abe Turcotte, a senior at the University of Maine at Farmington (UMF) and co-founder of the DTF shirts, reported that this year’s sales were significantly lower than previous years. “The first year we sold about 250 shirts,” said Turcotte, “The second year we sold 430 and the third year we sold 550. We didn’t really put any effort into it this year so we’ve only sold around 100 shirts.” The shirts were sold from September 27 to October fourth.

 This year’s themes include USA, Farmington Pride, and Mt. Blue Pride. Kyle Johnson, a senior at UMF, explained that the DTF shirts represent something more than a controversial yet witty pun. “A lot of our market is either college kids, high school kids or anyone who wants to commemorate that they live, work or play in Farmington,” Johnson said.

   Johnson and Turcotte hope to sell their shirts to local businesses including Black Bear Graphics, Sensi Side and Ron’s Market.  The team considered selling to the UMF Bookstore but quickly realized that it was a lost cause after approaching them. “They were kind of beatin’ around the bush on the topic and told us to bring in the shirt so they can approve it from there,” said Turcotte, “but the conversation I had with them made it seem like even if I brought in the shirt, they still weren’t gonna approve it.”

   During the fall semester of 2010, Johnson and Turcotte were eating lunch when Johnson came up with the catchy slogan. “Abe and I were sitting in Aramark one day and I can’t remember what we were talking about but we were just like ‘DTF…Down…Town…Farmington,’ and it just kind of went from there.” Soon after this conversation, Johnson’s grandmother passed away which led him to spend a weekend in New York for the services. By the time he returned, Turcotte had already called Black Bear Graphics about the possibility of printing a shirt.

   “Originally we just wanted to print 12 to have for us and our friends,” Turcotte said, “but then Max Eyes [UMF Graduate, freshman at the time] messaged me on Facebook and was like ‘dude, everyone’s talking about this DTF, Down Town Farmington thing.” From there, the team created a Facebook event page to accept preorders, leading to their first successful year.

   Turcotte, an Outdoor Recreation Business Administration major, created Down Town Graphics only last year. “I used the whole Down Town Farmington shirts as a model in my classes because I had to do business proposals, ” Turcotte said, “I didn’t really want to do orders on my own Facebook wall or just a random event- I wanted something concrete.”

   Turcotte hopes to keep Down Town Graphics going after he graduates although Johnson feels indifferent. “In high school I was big into graphic design so that’s where this came from,” said Johnson, “but not so much my college career.” Johnson is an Environmental Science major, hoping to move out west after graduating to see what jobs are available in his field; he’s possibly considering working for a park service. Turcotte on the other hand is not quite sure where he’d like to be but as long as it’s within the marketing field, he will be happy.

   More information about the shirts can be found at https://www.facebook.com/downtographic or by contacting Turcotte at abraham.turcotte@maine.edu.