Santorum Brings "Small Town" Message To BemidjiRepublican presidential candidate Rick Santorum, working to revitalize his campaign, made a few stops in Bemidji Sunday. Santorum went by Bemidji Woolen Mills to see first-hand how his infamous sweater vests are made.
Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum, working to revitalize his campaign, made a few stops in Bemidji Sunday. Santorum went by Bemidji Woolen Mills to see first-hand how his famous sweater vests are made.
One by one, each Rick Santorum sweater vest is stitched with a "Bemidji Woolen Mills" label and a "Made in America" stamp.
"We're right now in the process of refurbishing some of our machines that haven't run in 20, 30 years. And now that we have orders, we're able to pull these machines up, get them tuned up, and get them running again," Bemidji Woolen Mills Owner Bill Batchelder said.
That extra boost in business has been uplifting for Owner Bill Batchelder and his employees.
"It's the employees of Bemidji Woolen Mills that are making it happen, because without them we'd have nothing. It just feels good to be a part of something positive," Batchelder added.
"A place like the woolen mill here is really typical of small town America, small manufacturing, many cases family-owned," Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum said to a crowd gathered inside the the sewing facility.
Santorum's "Made in America" message really struck a chord at the Bemidji Woolen Mills. The family-owned business has been producing garments on main street Bemidji since 1920.
"People realizing that there's still stuff made in this town, made in America. We're making the clothing here," Bemidji Woolen Mills employee Susan Tammaro said.
Batchelder admits he didn't know much about Santorum until he agreed to make 1,000 sweater vests for the campaign. Now the political fashion statement has turned him into a Santorum supporter.
"It stands for being an American. It stands for being made in America. It stands for neighborhoods. It stands for strong families," Batchelder said.
"Manufacturers don't want to locate in suburban communities. They don't want to locate in center cities. They want to locate in small town America where they're welcome, where there's room, there's space, there's affordable land and labor available," Santorum said.
Santorum came in last place in the Nevada primary Saturday, but is hoping his message for small town America helps him win big in Minnesota on Tuesday.
"At least I'm hoping we do well in Bemidji anyway," Santorum added.
The Santorum-embroidered sweater vests are given to those who donate $100 or more to the campaign