What an unlikely combination.
A general contractor, two brick masons, a real estate developer and an artist selling shirts with four-color art on the front.It's unusual to say the least. And they boast the shirts are made in Utah, the pictures are printed in Utah and they promote Utah.
The new company is Color Country USA, which features "wearable art" rather than just having a shirt with printing on the front. The pictures are really four-color art of famous Utah landmarks and almost jump at you because of their life-like qualities.
Color Country USA was the idea of Steven Angle, a 40-year-old Bennion general contractor who bubbles with enthusiasm when talking about the fledgling company that is marketing the shirts in gift shops, recreation and other areas where tourists flock.
Angle, who owns a boat, spends plenty of time at Lake Powell and loves all aspects of Utah recreation life, has been a general contractor since 1969, and shirts with four-color art aren't his first attempt at inventing. He invented an item called "Hole in the Wall" - a door stop covering a hole in the wall caused by banging doorknobs.
But back to Color Country USA.
Angle was returning to Utah from Hawaii 21/2 years ago and noticed the beautiful printing on a Hawaiian shirt a fellow passenger was wearing. He wondered if pictures of Utah's beautiful scenery could be put on plain shirts that would be something different than the regular plain shirts tourists buy.
He talked to Hy Smith and Ron Johnson, both brick masons, and Blake Yowd, the real estate developer, who became partners and put a total of $20,000 into the endeavor.
They hired an artist, but they soon parted because of what Angle said was his inability to capture the scenes the foursome wanted. Then they hired Steven Bird, who presented the group with three designs that were immediate hits when placed on the shirts in four colors. Angle said he and his partners couldn't enter the shirt-selling market last year in time for the tourist season because of problems with the first artist. Bird, who also has become a partner, started last August with the four-color process through trial and error, and now LeVoy's manufactures the scenes and Stevens Brown Design puts them on the shirts.
The scenes are of Bryce Canyon National Park, Grand Canyon National Park, the Colorado River, Lake Powell, Zion National Park and Monument Valley on T-shirts, sweatshirts, polo neck, beach dresses and golf shirts.
In addition to tourists buying the shirts, Angle hopes Utahns will purchase them and wear them to other states when on vacation. He recently wore one of his picture shirts to Florida and received many inquiries about Utah attractions. Angle believes this is a good way to increase tourism.
Angle also started the Lake Powell Beach Club, whose members keep the lake and the surrounding area clean. All a person has to do is purchase a T-shirt with "Lake Powell Beach Club" on the front and he is a member.
Of course, Angle also expects members to clean up debris on the lake so it will continue to be attractive to tourists.