Thursday, February 10, 2011

Bomb Tees & The Music Lab: Brothers in Arms

Ok, I know what you’re thinking. The Bomb Tees/Music Lab entrepreneurs have already brightened the ether-land pages of 360 Mainstreet (who scooped everybody as they are wont to do) and the Saginaw News and we don’t really need another hyped-up glossified advertisement for a new business. So I’m gonna pepper you with my acerbic take on the world of business - especially small business. The BT/ML is simply too small to fail. We need them. That’s why this little article is still important. What we don’t need in Saginaw is continued growth of chain stores and restaurants that rob a community of its unique character and vitality. As Ray Davies once pleaded in his masterpiece Village Green Preservation Society, “God save little shops, china cups and virginity.” Hmm, little shops, anyway. Wall Street can go eff themselves silly as they continue to socialize their risk with our money. The small business community doesn’t rely on derivatives and speculation to screw the public, NO, we tighten our belts and go mean and lean and then screw the public…oops, I mean - we HAVE to be genuine in our efforts to support the needs and overall vision of our diverse community. We Saginawians are a hearty bunch – savvy, smart and very creative. Maybe it’s the tension in our dialectic – poverty and wealth, racism and diversity, failing schools and Academy for the Arts and Sciences – that create the conditions that will lead to Saginaw’s recovery and rebirth. Bob Rindhage, Bob Connelly and Bill Fiebig III are part of a new class of entrepreneurs that are well educated and well travelled yet anchored into the fabric of what makes Saginaw tick. Hell, these cats come from good stock, families that are sensitive, encouraging and artists in their own right. Take Bill Fiebig #2…please, I remember dialing him up and going on and on about how cool his band the Purple Warblers are – when Fiebig #1 pipes up, “Well, let me go get my son.” Fiebig #3 followed his father’s muse and became a top notch musician, teacher and businessman. Rindhage had similar influences when his father Bob Rindhage Sr. developed the short-lived but well conceived Hancock Theater. Even great ideas and elegant business formulations can fail but these failed attempts can possess honor and purpose – especially as it influences our children to think outside of the box

I love the patterns and designs that Rindhage and Connelly have created for their shirts… I dig it. And I’m glad they don’t do hats ‘cos I don’t wear hats. Nope. I don’t trust people who wear hats, mostly because I can’t get behind the messages they espouse like “Lions”, “Tigers” and “Bears”, oh my - though I might buy one if it read Ringo or The Vault.

Rindhage is nudging 30 and has lived in Lansing, Cocoa Beach, FL and Seaside, CA. He is a graduate of Arthur Hill High’s class of ’99 and he earned a Bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design from SVSU. Currently Rindhage is working on his master’s degree in Communication and Digital Media. He’s going for it! Rindhage is well known musician in Saginaw’s music scene and has been a lightning rod for good music and good times through his work with Somewhere Safe, the FutureHolds, Horse Fight and Rock the Party. I’ve known him for several years now and he’s like a magnet that attracts musicians and artists…and girls. The afterglow is at Bobby’s place

His partner Brian Connolly also played in Rock the Party and The FutureHolds. He has an Industrial Management degree from Baker College. He also attended Arthur Hill, class of ’02. Brian and Bobby met through mutual friends while playing poker and became close friends. They enjoyed music and good times but they also were developing a more adult vision of the future. Their search for meaning led them into discussions about entrepreneurship – business with a vision and a focus on creativity. As vision became reality, they struggled to find a specific niche. They wanted to do a clothing line with types of humor t-shirts that they already liked. They knew others were struggling with the “vision thing” and felt they could fill this void. The t-shirt industry seemed to be flooded with shops so they devised a business plan that would make their product lines more unique and therefore more valuable. They developed five services that we could offer that would create a unique experience for customers and clients:

1.) Predesigned humor t-shirts displayed in the store (general retail sales)
2.) Instant custom t-shirts (the customer’s own idea on a shirt within ten minutes)
3.) Large or small bulk orders for businesses, sports teams, events, bands, weddings
4.) Personal company branding (Bomb Tees and its logo as its own brand identity)
5.) Vinyl decals (works on windows, vehicles and other various surfaces).

Bomb Tee’s offers professional in-house design work that many shops are not able to offer. The storefront creates a “high-end Chicago shop” vibe - clean, cohesive and welcoming.

Rindhage explains his vision, “Our short-term goals are to have a successful grand opening and to provide a fast, fun t-shirt service to the Tri-cities area. We plan to expand the business with more employees and production equipment. In the long-term we would like this unique compilation of services we offer to allow us to expand and eventually open shops in surrounding areas, such as Midland and Bay City”.

Bomb Tees is housed in a multi-purpose outlet that shares space with The Music Lab which is run by Saginaw local Bill Fiebig III (also a guitarist in Rock the Party). Bill also attended Arthur Hill class with Rindhage. The Music Lab sells used music equipment and new music accessories. They offer instrument repairs and music lessons for guitar, banjo, bass, mandolin, fiddle and drums. For stringed instruments the lessons are taught by Big-Daddy Bill Fiebig Jr. The drum lessons are taught by Rock the Party’s drummer Adam White.”

The combined shops are open 6 days a week Monday through Saturday and are ready rock your party. Check out their websites and

Bo White

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