Carrie Rengers

Mooyah franchisee starts Inner City Peace T-shirt line to promote inner-city issues

Local Mooyah franchisee Anthony Powell is starting a new company, this one to sell T-shirts.

Powell says a number of things are leading him to start Inner City Peace, a line of shirts, sweatshirts and hats featuring a variation of the peace symbol.

“We’re trying to call attention to the need for us to put more resources into our inner cities,” Powell says. “In my opinion, this is not just an issue (for people) living in inner cities. This is an issue for all Americans.”

He says he first encountered inner-city issues when he was living in affluent Malibu, Calif., as a teenager.

“You can go 30 minutes and see total blight,” Powell says.

“I just remember being struck even as a teenager of the discrepancy.”

Powell says part of Inner City Peace’s profits from sales on its Facebook page will go to the Boys and Girls Clubs of America and other groups in need.

Powell, a former KSN, Channel 3, anchorman, says his days of news reporting also influenced his decision to start the company, as did being a Big Brother to a boy and his brothers.

“Just a lot of experiences have shaped my coming up with this idea.”

Powell says he worked for a couple of years to get the copyright for his design, which Visual Fusion created.

“Because it is a variation of the peace symbol … I had to hire an attorney,” he says. “It just took … a long time to get it approved, because they had to make sure that it was different enough not to infringe on the peace symbol.”

Powell says he got the logo trademarked in 2013 but hasn’t had a chance to kick off the company until now.

“I’m so busy with the restaurant,” he says.

Mooyah, which opened near Maple and West Street in late 2012, is one more reason Powell is starting the new company.

“I’ll be honest with you,” Powell says. “I consider myself an entrepreneur, and as I have found out, the restaurant business is absolutely brutal.”

In part because he didn’t have any restaurant experience, he says, “It’s been a struggle beyond struggle.”

Powell says the chain is a young brand, though “people do like the food.”

“It hasn’t been a terrible site,” he says. “West Street has been busy. I just think the price of Mooyah is high for that area.”

Powell still wants to do a Mooyah on the east side.

“We get requests all the time. ‘When are you coming to the east side?’ ”

He says he’ll be going there eventually.

“I got in this thing to do multiple units.”

While Powell says he hopes to make a profit for himself in addition to the charities he helps, he says his main focus is getting the word out that what happens in inner cities is something that affects everyone.

“That’s the message I’m trying to convey,” he says. “I do feel very strongly about this issue.”

Reach Carrie Rengers at 316-268-6340 or Follow her on Twitter: @CarrieRengers.