Keeping Tradition Alive with West Broad Apparel
By: Leah Sobon & Joseph Crawford
When it comes to representing traditions and respecting the values placed before you, entrepreneurs Russell Davis and Joseph Crawford are setting the bar high on not only themselves but on their company West Broad Apparel as well. Hailing out of Greenville, South Carolina, this firefighter owned company is taking the apparel game by storm with the unique use of retired fire hoses.
“Over eighty years ago, if you were anywhere downtown Greenville, South Carolina, close to West Broad Street, there’s a good chance you would have heard the rigs from the West Broad Headquarters Firehouse rolling out for fires,” remarks Joseph Crawford, co-owner of West Broad Apparel. “Today, it would be a sight to see and good for any firefighter to witness an old American LaFrance, full of cotton hose, rolling down a city street emergency with firefighters holding on for dear life on the tailboard, looking over the hose bed to catch the first glimpse of a column of smoke. In 1938, West Broad Headquarters Firehouse was put into service to serve one of the textile capitals of America — Greenville, South Carolina. Serving the community until the early 2000, the West Broad Firehouse was closed, property sold, and a hotel was built in its place.”
All these years later, firefighters in Greenville, SC, are still responding to calls for service and still stretching firehose down the city streets for successful fire attack. Though it seems as though the wheels of progress move faster than the power to preserve the importance of the past, as when the firehouse was replaced with the hotel, an important part of Greenville history was lost.
There will always be the constants in the fire service that transcend the generations and continue on, seemingly unnoticed. Some of those are the will of the firefighter, the ideal of service before self, and the old faithful firehose. In 2018, Russell Davis, a firefighter from Greenville, had an idea that firehose wasn’t just meant for stretching and flowing, but after its service life, could be used to represent tradition, success, and ownership. Russell soon picked up a business partner/fellow firefighter, Joseph Crawford, and together built their company West Broad Apparel.
Starting with The Original Hose Hat, this inaugural style is helping firefighters represent their station, crew, and rigs all across North America. The most important fact about firehose is that every section has a story. Just like the firehouse, the coffee table, the rig, the helmet, and the firefighter, a fire hose has its own story of where it has been and what it has done.
West Broad Apparel has made it their mission to “Keep Tradition Alive.”
“We are all about representing the great American firefighter and all the firehouses that house those firefighters, even ones like our dear West Broad HQ Firehouse which no longer exists other than in the stories passed along from generation to generation,” says Joseph proudly. “We understand that being a firefighter is not easy, and we know that one of our West Broad hats is more than a hat. It’s a hat with a story – sometimes many stories. And the story is yours. It’s who we are and who you are as a firefighter. It’s the perfect representation of the work you do alongside your firehouse family. Doing good work with others is undoubtedly one of the most rewarding things in life, and often the very reason we continue to show up to our firehouses every tour. We’re honored to be a small part in giving firefighters a great way to Keep Tradition Alive.”
Want to support West Broad Apparel? You can shop for your very own Original Hose Hat or even better, stock up your entire crew by visiting their website at: www.westbroadapparel.com.
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