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Friday, March 2, 2007

Brave Enough

Posted By on Fri, Mar 2, 2007 at 1:41 PM

Joan Metzler recognized a perfect storm when she saw it last October. When the Cardinals won the World Series and St. Louis was named the nation's crime capital all in the same week, the 43-year-old Metzler whipped up a T-shirt and hit the streets.

To date Metzler has sold more than 1,000 shirts bearing the message "Brave Enough to Live in America's Most Dangerous City." On the back of the garment is a list of the nation's five most dangerous cities according to statistician Morgan Quitno Press, with St. Louis besting second-place Detroit. Below the list reads the tagline "Kicking Detroit's Ass in Baseball and Crime."

At $20 a shirt, Metzler made a small fortune on the T-shirt idea. But months removed from the fury of the postseason and the city's rise to the top of the underworld, the resident of the DeMun neighborhood concedes sales are slipping.

So what's a savvy entrepreneur to do? Metzler made a slight variation and is now going after an entirely untapped demographic: the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department.

Last week Metzler took out an advertisement on the popular law-enforcement chat room St. Louis Cop Talk. At just $2.50 per week, the ad is already paying off. More than 50 Cop Talk readers so far have gobbled up her redesigned T-shirt, which bears the message "Brave Enough to Police in America's Most Dangerous City."

"There's less of a market with the police, but we'll see how it goes," says Metzler. "So far, so good."

BTW, Metzler says she intends to donate a portion of the revenue from the cop T-shirts to the police and firefighters fund Backstoppers.

-Chad Garrison

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