LINDALE - Four years ago when Michael Simms, 34, and Catherine Collette-Simms, 30, both of Mineola, started receiving thousands of orders for their T-shirts, they saw an opportunity to grow their business.
Simms quit his full-time job and soon began to focus on a business that had been his side gig.
For the couple, opening Back Down South has allowed them a chance to share their passion for hunting and dogs, which frequently find their way into the brand’s designs.
“We got the name because ducks migrate south every year from Canada,” Simms said. “We never had a store in mind. … The first design was a vintage shotgun shell box and then it just kind of grew from there.”
Back Down South, at 100 E. Hubbard St. in Lindale, carries a variety of hunting and hunting-inspired clothing, as well as a variety of hunting accessories and men’s grooming products. Their black lab, Chief, is the face of the company.
Simms said many of the store’s inventory appeals toward men looking for high-quality hunting clothing, although he said the Back Down South T-shirts, which are made in the United States with Supima cotton, are also popular among women. The Buzz Shop Barber Co., ran by Keith Bartz, is inside the store.
Back Down South also carries several products and brands that Simms said are unique to the area, such as Sitka Gear and Simms Fishing Products.
Sitka’s GORE OPTIFADE Concealment camouflage products, which are sold in the store, feature patterns that are designed to help the wearer remain undetected by many different animals.
Simms said that currently one of the most popular Back Down South T-shirts, which features a graphic of Chief in shades and a headdress, goes for $36. Some T-shirts at the shop and on its website go for about a third of that price. Custom duck calls, which start at $100, are also sold at the store.
He added that those who come to the shop would find items that are unique to the area.
“(The store has) a super relaxed, chill kind of home feeling,” Simms said. “I’ve been thinking of stuff I could put in here. I want it to be stuff you can’t get in Tyler. You can’t get it anywhere but here.”