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By Barry Nelson

Ann Puszykowski, owner and operator of Beans Bunny Wear, (989) 928-2949, beansbunnywear@hotmail.com, is out to change Saginaw's image, one t-shirt at a time. Ironically, Ann never planned to own a business, much less sell t-shirts. But a shoulder injury from computer work, while working as an administrative assistant at the Saginaw Children's Zoo, in 2009, forced her to consider new career options. She brainstormed a career list, and rabbits, specifically, the cheerfully cute green and red Saginaw Jackrabbit Bean Sign, an icon of Downtown Saginaw for 75 years, "came to the top", Ann said. She pushed away her internal "censor" telling her why it wouldn't work, and relied on family and friends for support and advice, and went ahead and created her business anyway. By the looks of satisfied customer's smiles, and repeat sales, it seems Ann made the right decision. 

Her love of Saginaw, and a civic desire to improve her hometown's image, brought fortune and fate together, as she realized Saginaw needed "things to take pride in" again. Ann's enthusiasm to serve her community, and her charming ability to engage people and put them at ease for sales, has made Beans Bunny Wear a quiet success at the Downtown Saginaw Farmer's Market, located at  507 South Washington between Thompson and Millard. Her table display is there, Fridays, from 9am to 3pm, May 27 thru October 29. 

You can call, or email Ann, for purchases anytime, and/or contact Beans Bunny Wear through her Facebook page. She loves it when customer's leave product comments, and upload pictures of their families and friends, wearing Beans Bunny Wear t-shirts. "Purchaser's love this product because it says home", Ann says. After October, you can look for her at Saginaw's Fall and Holiday bazaars, such as Polaski Hall, on Weiss Street, in Saginaw. Check ahead for dates and times.

So far, t-shirts are only the start-up product for Beans Bunny Wear. Ann is considering adding sweatshirts soon, and baseball caps, pending negotiations with a New York company for promotional product wholesaling. No matter the product or amount, "quality is her first priority", she says. For kids, she's begun giving out free temporary tattoo transfers of the Beans logo, with the purchase of a t-shirt. Sizes range from infant, toddler, to adult XXX, Colors: green, brown, black, white, and pink. White may be phased out. All shirts are 100% organic cotton, and made in the USA. Printing is done locally, at: Affordable Screen Printing, on Weiss Street, in Saginaw. T-shirts are $16-$24, sales tax included. She accepts cash, Discovery, MasterCard, and VISA.

A portion of her profits goes to the maintenance of the neon bean sign, owned by Con Agra. Donations are accepted at the Saginaw Hall of Fame Bean Bunny Fund, at the Saginaw Community Foundation. The bean and rabbit logo is always the same: bright green bean letters, and neon pink for the rabbit, regardless of shirt color. It's a replica of the original "Jackrabbit Beans" product logo, selling bagged dry beans, beginning in the 1930s.

© Barry Nelson, 2011