Growing up in a town of 150 people in Saskatchewan, Cole Thorpe knew the importance of community involvement at a young age. After all, the values of rural communities are deeply rooted in the collective efforts of citizens helping one another.
Cole had the opportunity to become involved with community leadership initiatives starting back in middle school and over the last 10 years he has gained a variety of leadership, community, and fundraising experience. Upon graduation from the Edwards School of Business at the University of Saskatchewan, Cole evaluated his next step along with the rest of his graduating class. Instead of following the tradition route of finding a job or further schooling, Cole decided to put his business education and community leadership experience to the test by starting his own entrepreneurial venture, Prairie Proud Apparel, a mere month ago.
“I wanted to combine my passion of community involvement into a business that I could get up every day and love what I was doing. I founded Prairie Proud Apparel in order to give back to the people and organizations who gave me opportunities and improve the quality of life of those living in the Prairies by donating a portion of the proceeds to local charities,” says Cole.
T-shirts and sweatshirts sporting the Prairie Proud logo are currently sold online and will be eventually in stores across the prairies. A portion of the proceeds from the sale of Prairie Proud Apparel items in Alberta are donated to the Alberta Cancer Foundation to make a difference in the lives of Albertans and their families facing cancer.
“Because of my prior volunteer and fundraising experiences with the Children’s Hospital Foundation of Saskatchewan and various family members affected by cancer, I knew the Alberta Cancer Foundation was the right fit for the Alberta’s Prairie Proud proceeds. Cancer is something that is affecting thousands of prairie residents and we need to continue supporting in order to find a cure,” says Cole.
Fans and supporters are already standing behind the Prairie Proud identity, wearing their logoed apparel across Canada and even as they travel around the world.
“Our social media accounts are lighting up with photos of people representing the Prairie Proud brand across the Prairies, Canada and even in Europe. One of the main purposes behind the brand is to give current and former prairie residents the opportunity to wear the pride and connect to their home or upbringing on the prairies. Right now we’re in talks with AHL and NHL players to become Prairie Proud ambassadors, along with country music stars Doc Walker & Jess Moskaluke. Even Hope Solo from the American women’s soccer team is officially Prairie Proud!”
As the awareness for Prairie Proud grows, Cole hopes to expand the product offering by developing new apparel items and exploring co-branding opportunities with other organizations.
Wear the Pride. Invest in the Prairies. Buy your Prairie Proud Apparel today at prairieproud.ca and support the Alberta Cancer Foundation at the same time!