Local Moms Connie Davolt, left, and Lorraine Bellows of Tostrz.[/caption] It started as a simple request from their swim team kids, a warm and durable parka that could stand up to our cool and sometimes wet and breezy NW weather, and not end up as a smelly, soggy mess after a race in the pool. Little did local Moms Connie Davolt and Lorraine Bellows know, that over 13 years later the cottage-industry production of their Team and Fan parkas would have grown to include full production in a Tukwila warehouse, online sales, and satisfied customers from near and far. It’s often said that necessity is the “mother of invention” and we found that’s really true of this product. Connie’s daughter, a Highline High School graduate wanted warm fleecy pockets to keep her hands comfortable, and in addition fingertip cuffs that roll down to cut the chill or tuck away when not needed. Fans in the stands (especially Moms) love to chat during games and events so the “talking collar” was born. A double layered full fleece lining that keeps your neck warm even with the hood down, to encourage socializing. The longer design of the parka keeps legs warm for both spectators and participants alike. Notoriously cold and uncomfortable grandstands have met their match! Co-owner Connie notes that kids sometimes put “weird things” in their pockets, so moms asked for a see-through mesh pocket to avoid washer mishaps. Listening to their customers has allowed this dynamic duo to refine their product with useful details both teams and fans appreciate, including the fact that the Parkas are MADE IN THE USA, and sourced using the highest quality Malden Mills fleece from Lawrence, Massachusetts. After over 10 years of growing their business, Connie and Lorraine are still tickled every time their satisfied customers call Tostrz “Simpy THE BEST Team and Fan Parka.” So what’s next for this truly local business? “We’ve really invested in getting our online store in place and developing our social media presence,” Connie told us. “Our past affiliation with Collegiate licensing was quite successful, and we look forward to pursuing that again.” Still looking for the perfect holiday gift for your NW athlete or fan? Check out The Tostrz online store here: http://www.tostrz.com. Tostrz will keep them “warm as toast” for seasons to come and you can support a hyperlocal, “Made in the USA” business to boot! To order, or for more information, visit http://www.tostrz.com or download their flier here (PDF file).]]>