11.03.2014

Enjoy Troy company launches online store


ENJOY TROY CO. LAUNCHES INTERNET STORE IN TIME FOR HOLIDAYS
Homegrown "enjoy troy." Symbol Promotes Laid Back Renaissance in Troy, New York

TROY>> If you've spent any time in Troy during the past decade, you've seen it all over town: a cheerful oval around the words "enjoy troy."

Now the creators of this beloved icon of civic pride have launched an online store in time for the holidays, with a complete line of merchandise sporting the laid back message. The website, http://enjoytroy.us, features stickers, glasses, coffee mugs, t-shirts, hats, pins, patches and plaques sporting the now classic "enjoy troy." symbol. It also includes a blog, a brief history of the symbol and information about the various retail locations in downtown Troy that carry an expanded line of merchandise.

"Enjoy Troy is sort of a counter culture response to branding," said Linda Passaretti, who created the symbol in 2003. "It is a mandate. It's an order: enjoy troy period."

Though it is ubiquitous throughout Troy -- on banners, brochures, business plaques and on storefront windows -- few people actually know where the "enjoy troy." symbol came from, or who created it.

"That's about as grassroots as it gets," Passaretti said, comparing her creation to a "meme," which is a term coined by evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins to describe "an idea, behavior, or style that spreads from person to person within a culture." And like most memes, this one took off by surprise.


ENJOY TROY SYMBOL: THE ORIGINS

In 2003, Passaretti needed a theme for a small party in Troy's Washington Park neighborhood. But she had no money for decorations. So she printed sheets of address labels with the statement "enjoy troy." on them, then stuck them on plastic cups and other items around her house. It was a hit.

After that, she designed more professional-looking oval decals that she passed out around town to friends and business owners. Next, people started asking for hats and shirts with the symbol on them, so she had those made, too.

A few years later, Passaretti partnered with Tom Reynolds to establish The Enjoy Troy Company. A commercial lending officer, Reynolds is the craftsman behind the company's handmade plaques, custom tables and other specialty items featuring the "enjoy troy." symbol.

"As soon as I saw the sticker, I wanted to help spread this message," said Reynolds. "Even the font that Linda chose is a happy font."

But, while the "enjoy troy." design is officially trademarked and the company's array of merchandise is available through the website and at Artcentric Gallery at 266 River St, the partnership isn't motivated by money.

"This has always been about making something to bind and build the community," Passaretti says. "When all these people start to see this community as worthy, that is my payment."


A SYMBOL OF REBIRTH

It's impossible to know what effect "enjoy troy." has had on the city's rebirth, but perceptions of Troy have changed since Passaretti first arrived in 1980 as a freshman at Emma Willard School.

"People were down on Troy when I was a kid," she said. "Everybody at school would say Troy was the armpit of the world."

Now the city's renaissance-in-progress is the talk of the region and was recently reported on by the New York Daily News in 2013.

"Ten years ago, Troy didn't have the same offerings," she said. "But in terms of the quality of the people who are trying to make the city go, it's been here all along -- people who've committed their lives to making the city work in a positive way."

THE TROYLET

One of the top selling products of The Enjoy Troy Co. has an ironic twist: handmade wooden "Troylet" bathroom plaques. Starting in the 1960s, the expression "Troylet" (a combination of the words "Troy" and "toilet") was a common put down for the city and people who lived there. But during the past two decades, as the downtown Troy resurgence is becoming a role model for urban revitalization, many residents repeat the pejorative today with tongue in cheek, and chuckle at those who didn't see the charm that was there all along.

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