Celebrating Independent Retailers in Canada
Two Great Stores Under One Roof….
1) Johnny Ruth
Imagine our surprise and delight when we discovered that our namesake had actually been a real person! Not only was Johnny Ruth real, he was a peddler of wares, including clothing and hardware…
In October, 2005 when Kim W. was thinking up names for her new clothing store she settled on Johnny Ruth because of it’s playfulness, it rolled smoothly off the tongue and because she felt it represented a little of the funky side in all of us. Little did she know that the name had been used before… a long time before.
A month after the store was up and running a couple of old timers visited the store to ask if there was a connection to the original Johnny Ruth. This piqued Kim’s interest and she set out to discover something about the man known as Johnny Ruth. The following comes from his daughter:
Jack Ruttgaizer, better known as Johnny Ruth, emigrated to New York from Romania at the outset of WWI. In the 1930’s he traveled the Eastern Seaboard and eventually settled in this province. He peddled wares on the Humber River and in Central Newfoundland for several years. After marrying in 1940, he opened a clothing/hardware store in Millertown Junction. In the late forties, he moved with his wife and four children to Botwood where he was part owner and operator of Riff’s Ltd. He continued to operate the business until his untimely death in 1967 at 67 years old. By then, he and his wife, who was twenty years his junior, had twelve children.
Johnny was greatly respected and fondly remembered throughout the region. Those who remember him, talk about his generosity to those who were less fortunate. It has often been said that “… he would give you the shirt off his back”. In regard to fashion, I remember my father saying that it doesn’t matter what you wear if your hair is not tidy and your shoes are not neat and clean.
Finding it incredibly fitting that Johnny was a compassionate man of integrity. The store enjoys the fact that his preference was towards “quality items that were well made from natural fibers and products.” There is something truly gratifying in the fact that the store and the man had similar principles even though neither had any idea about the other.
2) Living Planet
Living Planet T-Shirts is a screen printing company in St. John’s, Newfoundland & Labrador, on the east coast of Canada. We specialize in printing works by local artists on t-shirts and high quality custom printed shirts for groups and events. Our bricks and mortar retail location is 197 Water Street in downtown St. John’s.
Our print studio is located at 20 Barnes Road at the edge of downtown in St. John’s. We carefully handscreen all of our shirts and insist that each print is of top quality. Originally we had been printing on the second floor of our retail store but having outgrown that space we converted it to another retail boutique known as “What’s Upstairs?” The name arose from the fact that many of our retail customers would notice the stairs leading up to the second floor and ask that very question “What’s Upstairs?”
The owner of Living Planet is Dave Hopley who has 20 years of screenprinting experience. He and his excellent staff take great care and pride in presenting the coolest Newfoundland shirts that you’ll ever find. And because Newfoundland has such a wealth of artistic talent, we are able to continuously add great new art to our line.
Why Living Planet?
Called Living Planet T-Shirts for a reason. They endeavour to produce shirts with the most eco-friendly processes available. Giving up using harsh solvents and chemicals years ago when soy-based cleaners and other less toxic products became available. Into cool t-shirts but they don’t want to poison themselves producing them. As responsible corporate citizens, they seek to reduce, reuse and recycle as much as we can.
This year they will begin offering some of their images for sale on bamboo/cotton blend t-shirts as well. Excited about this development as the test shirts they are wearing are luxuriously comfortable and very eco friendly to produce.