Community Initiatives | My Ol' Blues in the News
My Ol' Blues has participated in various community initiatives since its inception in 1993. We most recently held a 'Thankful Tree' event during the holiday season that saw the Manitoulin Island community fill out cards of gratitude. The store matched a $1 donation with each card towards the Manitoulin Family Resources community food bank. Writer Tom Sasvari outlines this initiative in a 2020 article for the Manitoulin Expositor.
In April 2020, My Ol' Blues collaborated with Pro Stitch in Sudbury and entered PPE production to make nursing gowns for healthcare workers fighting the spread of COVID-19. We continue to provide these gowns and have since introduced masks for purchase in-store and online. Tom Savsari highlights this effort in another 2020 article for the Manitoulin Expositor.
Other efforts include a mentorship program that ran from 2013 to 2019 and encouraged young girls to hone their entrepreneurial skills. Through the Tweeny Project Program, these girls had the opportunity to become fashion designers with additional lessons in manufacturing, advertising and marketing, and retail operations. The program's first year saw the spring/summer launch of its inaugural clothing brand 2 Blue Girlz. Writer Lindsay Kelly discusses this program in a 2015 article for Northern Ontario Business.
Kelly first profiled My Ol' Blues in a 2011 article for Northern Ontario Business, highlighting its selection of comfortable Canadian-themed apparel for various demographics. Kathy's brand has garnered interest from a vast clientele over the years, including the Bluenose II crew and even the Royal Family of Jordan. You can view their conversation about My Ol' Blues' "refreshing, recycled, repurposed, and renewed" clothing here:
Kathryn Antonio has been lauded for her entrepreneurial spirit and fostering a sense of family and community in Manitoulin Island through My Ol' Blues. A notable example is how she encouraged former employees of her apparel brand to become independent business women also. Her efforts earned her an Influential Women award in 2005, with writer Carol Martin documenting her win in a 2005 article for SooToday.