TownWear brand expands with Marion clothing line
Mattapoisett — When Mattapoisett celebrated its 150th anniversary in 2006, resident Bruce Rocha Sr. and his team at BER Inc donated a few custom-made long-sleeve shirts to the celebration.
Those few shirts received such a positive reaction in the community Rocha said he had to take it one step further, and the TownWear clothing line was off and running.
Founded in 1963, BER Inc has been working with corporations and individuals on creating signature brands for nearly 50 years.
“We’ve been in corporate branding for a long time and because we’ve been in business so long we have a little bit of skill helping people run their business and get more recognition,” Rocha said.
Rocha said what makes the clothing unique is that, along with the name, clothes feature three recognizable icons from the community. In Mattapoisett’s case, those are Salty the Seahorse from Dunseith Gardens, the top of the town’s band stand, and a ship.
“The whole project was designed to instill pride in the community,” Rocha said.
Each of the 43 retailers across the country who now carry TownWear can choose their three icons as representations of their community. The clothing also features the geographical coordinates of the store where TownWear is sold “to make it easy to find with a GPS,” Rocha said.
The Mattapoisett TownWear line is available in Isabelle’s Gift Shop on Route 6.
TownWear, he said, has expanded from shirts to hooded sweatshirts to hats in infant sizes to adult. The brand is distributed from Vermont to Florida and continues to grow.
Last month TownWear launched the Marion clothing line to respond to popular demand once again, Rocha said.
“People kept coming into the Mattapoisett store asking for Marion’s line so we decided it was time to start one,” Rocha said.
The Marion TownWear line is available in Mail Box Services on County Road in Mattapoisett, owned by Rocha’s real estate and construction company Fisher & Rocha.
There, Rocha and his team receive and ship the TownWear orders across the country.
The brand is purely New England- made, Rocha said, with all of the dyeing and detailing of the clothes being done locally in New Bedford, West Yarmouth, Fall River
and, of course, Mattapoisett.
There is one catch for retailers interested in carrying the TownWear line. All have to agree to donate a percentage of their proceeds to a charity of their choosing said BER, Inc Chief Financial Officer, Connie Goulart.
“Thousands of dollars have already been raised,” Goulart said. “Five percent of everything the retailers bring in goes back to the community.”
The proceeds from the Marion TownWear line will go to the Masonic Angel Fund. Rocha is a member of the Pythagorean Masonic Hall on Spring Street.
The charity, he said, donates money to students who are in need if a principal, guidance counselor or nurse applies to the Masons asking for help on behalf of the student.
“We want to be socially responsible,” Rocha said. “ We don’t want to exist in a vacuum. Customers are a part of our life span so it’s important to give back to the town.”
This is a business philosophy both Rocha and Goulart say they want to expand. Their goal is to bring the TownWear brand coast to coast.
“It’ll bring us across the country,” Rocha said. “Little old Mattapoisett will take its
place in the world again.” Rocha and Goulart say they are getting closer to their national goal for TownWear as they continue to sign on with more retail distributors every month.
Rocha said he takes great pride in his brand.
“The most exciting thing for me is I’ll go to Rhode Island and see people wearing my clothing,” Rocha said. “That’s incredibly exciting.”