"Capitalism for the Common Good."
This is the slogan for Borderland Tees, a company that gives the homeless and formerly incarcerated an opportunity at employment.
Not only the production house for made-to-order T-shirts, Borderland Tees also serves a sanctuary for Knoxville residents in search of a job and stability.
For the past 45 years, Bob Riehl has been successfully printing custom made T-shirts for group and individual sale.
In 2008, however, Riehl and business partner Reverend Jenny Arthur decided to transform their corporation.
"Mostly, we help them get jobs in the community," Riehl said. "We will let them work here some if they need too, but that's the last resort. You help them get food stamps, ID cards, Social Security cards; a lot of these guys lose everything on the street and no one will talk to them without their cards. So, the first thing we do is drive them downtown or give them a bus ticket."
Arthur, a minister at the Tennessee Valley Unitarian Universalist Church, also helps employees find small jobs by offering their services to friends from church.
The idea behind Borderland Tees first emerged when a young homeless man stumbled into Arthur's church roughly five years ago.
After it became evident that he would not survive on the streets, Riehl, a friend of Arthur's, offered the young man a job at his printing company. After this simple act of friendship, Riehl recalls a marked change in the man.
Inspired, Riehl and Arthur set out to institutionalize this system.
"We felt called," Riehl said. "We felt religiously called to do this."
Today, Riehl uses his printing shop to foster relationships within the community.
"More than anything they need to get away from an old situation into a new situation," Riehl said. "We have a program and a process that's dependent on the individual and what their needs are and we try to help them for them.
"We try not to do anything for somebody that they can do for themselves."
Currently, the largest market for Borderland Tees is souvenir shopping in Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge, but they also receive orders from UT's chemistry department, governor's school programs, Camp Koinonia and Sex Week.
"It's kind of incredible," Caroline Norris, an undecided freshman pursuing a career in community ministry, said. "This business is purely run on the idea of helping people. I mean, that's kind of the opposite of what we usually see, isn't it?"
Riehl and Arthur receive no salary from the shop's revenue, instead using all proceeds to improve efficiency and the lives of their staff.
This for-profit social enterprise, Riehl claims, is the most effective way to help the community.
"This is the best way," Riehl said. "Without the risk of losing everything, it's hard to stay motivated. If an order doesn't go out, I feel personally responsible and without that drive, I've realized, it's hard to keep a business going.
"You have to have that sense of urgency, some kind of entrepreneurial spirit."
Riehl said he hopes to eventually funnel profits from Borderland Tees into a non-profit organization capable of endeavors, such as providing housing and job training opportunities. For now, though, Riehl and Arthur are content.
"At first we thought we knew what we were doing and had it all figured out, but now ... we just do what's necessary today."