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New Andersonville Store Pays Homage To Everything Midwest Selling Locally-Inspired Goods

A new store opening at 5207 N. Clark (the old Giordano’s/Ann Sather space) will bring its clever screen-printed American-made goods to their newest location on the Andersonville strip.

“The Greatest Store in the Universe” is the slogan that is amusingly printed in bold, white letters outside Raygun’s headquarters at 505 E Grand in Des Moines, Iowa. Inside, screens and presses fill the busy workroom which overlooks a retail space where people can buy many of the products made there including American-produced t-shirts with distinct phrases and images that pay homage to everything Midwest!

Now Raygun will be making their Chicago premier, setting up shop in Andersonville and poised to take on local legends like Ditka, Jordan and the el train. Their union printed t-shirts, which are the bread and butter of the business, are made in California and sweatshop-free factories overseas with specials blends that include recycled polyester and organic cotton.

Printing at Their Des Moines Store

“I always wanted to do something creative. When I started selling t-shirts, the ‘light bulb’ was that shirts could be a creative medium that I could actually make a living at,” said Raygun founder and owner Mike Draper. “I started selling t-shirts my senior year of college, and have been essentially doing it ever since!”

With an incredibly motivated spirit and very likable personality, Draper was born in a small town just outside of Des Moines and went to the University of Pennsylvania. Though his plan wasn’t to sell t-shirts after graduation, he pounded the pavement doing just that, anywhere he could get noticed such as busy sidewalks and college campuses. In 2005, he opened the first store in Des Moines and started printing his own t-shirts in a pole barn in central Iowa. Since then, the company has grown to include retail stores in Iowa City, Kansas City and Cedar Rapids.

“We not only come up with slogans, we print them ourselves, we tag them, we display them, we sell them in stores and online,” Draper added. “So we control every step of the process. I love the whole thing — coming up with slogans, designing, printing, but also creating cool environments to shop inside. There is not one part of Raygun that I don’t find fascinating.”

New Andersonville Raygun In Progress

Because Raygun is a small company with no board or venture capital, they are in 100% in control of the content and the process. They produce many other printed items as well including housewares, glassware and paper goods. They even make their own line of end tables that are produced with other wooden items at a wood working shop near their Des Moines headquarters.

Draper feels like he found the perfect neighborhood to showcase his unique goods. “We work hard to build a unique retail environment, and we have noticed that our chances of success are a lot higher when we locate next to other great retail environments. So much work has gone into the (Andersonville) neighborhood before us, we just hope to be able to add a little something to the feeling. Be a part of the positive growth.”

Raygun is currently updating their new Andersonville home and have an expected opening date around June 1 of this year.


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