The story behind the #PortHuronStrong signs around town

Ask Lisa Bowman how she would characterize the local business community in these days of coronavirus-related shutdowns and she’s quick to respond.

“Partners!” Bowman says. “There are a lot of people with big hearts that are doing whatever they can to help each other.”

She would know. Bowman has owned the Sir Speedy print- and sign-making shop since 1996. Well-entrenched in the Port Huron business community, Bowman felt compelled to offer a message of hope as the COVID-19 pandemic altered the city’s commercial landscape. She and her team designed a sign to be displayed throughout the city, complete with a #PortHuronStrong hashtag and the inspirational quote, “Life’s roughest storms prove the strength of our anchors.”

A big banner hangs atop the MiMutual Mortgage offices and signs can be found throughout downtown, encouraging people to not forget about their local businesses. We asked Bowman all about it.

Q: How did the #PortHuronStrong campaign come about?

A: When my designer Heather was designing the banner, I had her add that. I felt it was very fitting!
When we first got the news that places were going to be shut down, of course, panic set in, including worrying about my employees. They are like daughters to me. Then I thought I need to do a banner with a positive message to let everyone know we are in this together. Being a 10-year breast cancer survivor, I know how important it is to stay positive and strong during hard times.

So, I emailed Audrey at MiMutual and asked her if we could hang a banner on their building: “Yes, Mark said we will donate money toward it and donate the labor to hang it.” Sir Speedy took care of the rest of the cost and the design.
It’s awesome that MiMutual partnered with me on the banner and offered to give a donation without being asked to donate. They are a great anchor in our town.

Q: How do other businesses obtain them? And for what cost?

A: The signs that you see in the storefront windows I also donated: 50 13x19s and 50 13x27s. Cynthia picked them up and distributed them to the people that posted that they would like one on the downtown collective Facebook group. I’m not sure how many she has left but I would be willing to print more if needed.

Q: What do you hope the banners accomplish?

A: Hope, positivity, camaraderie, continued support, and loyalty from the community for our local businesses! I think we are all going to be stronger and better after we ride out this storm that we are faced with right now.
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