Rail Tees Beginning - Part 3

Shoot, you don’t have to go all the way to Montana if you want a job. I'll give you a job
It was summer. 1985. I had just finished the 8th grade and I was looking forward to another summer of screwing off and doing as little as possible. That usually involved riding my bike on the Greenbelt along the Boise River with my best friend, Travis. It had been our summer ritual since we became friends some five years previous. We always took the same route from our neighborhood through the West End of Boise, dropped down the hill at the end of Garden City and rolled onto the Greenbelt by the old train trestle near the Shilo Inn. That route took us down a long stretch of Fairview Avenue, lined with its various businesses and restaurants.

One fateful day, we were passing L&L Shirts, a local mom & pop t-shirt shop that was located in three connected rooms of the now defunct Traveler’s Motel. In the parking lot, a man was wrangling a 4’x8’ piece of plywood out of the back of his truck. As he saw us nearing, he called us over and asked if we could help him unload the rest of the plywood. We were more than happy to be recognized by an adult, ditched our bikes, and scrambled over to give him a hand. The man turned out to be Lyle Shockey, the owner and proprietor of L&L Shirts. He thanked us for our help and we went on our way. For the rest of that summer, and on the weekends during the ensuing school year, Travis and I would often stop into his shop when we passed by on our bike rides. Lyle would always take a few minutes away from whatever he might be doing to chat with us about whatever we might be doing.

Fast forward. It’s summer. 1986. I had just finished the 9th grade and was still just 14 years old. On this particular day, I found myself out riding on my bike by myself. Being by myself didn’t stop me from popping in to see Lyle. He asked me what I had planned for the summer. Without thinking, I told him I was planning to go to Montana for the summer with a friend of mine and that my friend had an uncle there and we were going to buck hay on his ranch. While this actually had been something I considered, by this point I had decided I wasn’t going to do it. But, for whatever reason, I didn’t want to tell Lyle that I was planning on bumming around for another summer.

The next words out of Lyle’s mouth changed my lifepath to this very day – “Shoot, you don’t have to go all the way to Montana if you want a job. Why don’t you just come in here on Monday and I’ll give you a job.” I was nothing short of stunned, and immediately accepted the offer. He told me to go home and over the weekend write him a letter explaining to him why I would want to work for him and in what ways I would be a good employee, and to bring him the letter Monday morning at 10:00 and be ready to work. Again, this is 1986. I didn’t have a computer or even a typewriter. I wrote the letter in pencil on lined notebook paper. While I don’t remember quite exactly what I wrote, I do remember writing in large calligraphic letters at the top of the page, “To the Owner of L&L Shirts”. I was certain he’d be impressed with my obvious artistic talent.

Wrapping Up

I don’t know if it was because of my extra efforts, or in spite of them, but on Monday morning Lyle read my letter, then handed me an apron. The rest, as they say, is history.

Welcome to Rail Tees!

Located in Boise, Idaho, Rail Tees Custom Screenprinting & Embroidery is not your average print shop. Since 1986, Rail Tees owner & operator David “Rail” Colcord has been providing top notch screen printed & embroidered apparel to a wide range of clients, including businesses, non-profit organizations, churches, schools, bands, restaurants, and anyone else looking for exceptional branded products.

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