By CRISTAL JONES
Hungry Horse News
Watch where you wear this shirt.
In bold it reads MONTANA SUCKS but in smaller print
below "now go home and tell all your friends!"
Shirt creator Tom Heatherington said it is a reverse
psychology technique that could be used as an effective marketing tool
and even boost Montana tourism.
"It's simple. People get the message to NOT visit
Montana, it sticks in their head, then they have the idea to come here,"
Heatherington of the Montana Sucks website said.
Heatherington is an Internet-developer who works
primarily for the Parenting With Dignity program.
Heatherington and his wife moved to Montana five years
ago from Texas to get away from the fast-paced lifestyle.
"I see prettier scenery and more wildlife just taking
out the trash than most people see all year," he said.
Living in the West Valley, he said they are fascinated
by deer and bears they see in their front yard.
"We first started a Website with Glacier National
Park's name that had the kind of things you would want to know that the
Park Service doesn't tell you," he said. "The kind of things we know
from experience that we can share with others wanting to visit the
Tom Heatherington in his home office in Kalispell
But if you scroll down the Web site towards
the bottom, a shirt that says boldly "MONTANA SUCKS" is sure to catch
It is a link to his tongue-in-cheek side project he
just launched this August.
Cartoons on the site show the dangers of camping in
Montana, animals attacking and even a Smokey the Bear saying "Only you
can prevent tourist tires."
He also sells MONTANA SUCKS. Now go home and tell all
your friends! coffee mugs, hats and teddy bears.
The idea came from a shirt they saw someone wearing in
a restaurant. Heatherington said they searched all over the Internet to
buy one, but couldn't find one and remembered it looking home-made. They
decided to make and sell their own.
Heatherington said most of the sales have been
out-of-state, but he once saw someone driving in Kalispell with the
"When we wear our shirts out, we always get a reaction
and you can see people's faces. The shock value of this pristine area
sucking sells. It's a niche that is still there," he said.
"You couldn't pay me all the move in the world to move
away from here." Heatherington added.
The shirts sell from $13 to $23.
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