South Lenoir student creates business to help fellow adoptees

South Lenoir student creates business to help fellow adoptees

A Lenoir County teen has combined his entrepreneurial ambitions with a cause near to his heart to start a business aimed at helping families seeking to adopt.

South Lenoir High School student Ethan Cahoon, 16, was adopted from Russia as a child. Had he not been adopted, he said, he would have been on his own at age 16, with only around $100 in his pocket to make his own way. Thinking about what might have been has inspired him to help other families through the process and make it easier to bring other children home.

Cahoon already knew he wanted to do something related to adoption and apparel when the sight of a rack of T-shirts inspired the name of his business, AdopTees. Once he came up with the name, he began to consider how exactly to accomplish his goals.

Local entrepreneur Brandon Potter said Cahoon came to him with an idea and a name for the business, and together with Cahoon’s parents they worked out the details of the operation. The newly-minted AdopTees company will partner with families who are well into their adoption journeys, and create a customized T-shirt for each family.

“Forty percent of the proceeds will go to the family,” Potter said. “The rest will go towards building the AdopTees brand and a network of support on social media.”

Justin and Jennifer Croom of La Grange are the first to partner with AdopTees. The couple is in the process of adopting a child from China, and the T-shirt designed for them features the AdopTees logo on the front and a Bible verse from the book of Psalms on the back. Potter said in the first few days since the shirt became available, more than 100 people have already purchased one in support of the Crooms.

There is only one family featured on the AdopTees Apparel website currently, but Potter said the vision is for there to be numerous families represented at any given time, and not just in this area. As the company develops, they hope to be able to help people from all over the country.

A grand opening ceremony for the company’s new space at The Exchange at Hometowne on Gordon Street will be held Feb. 28 at 6:30 p.m.

You can read more about the Crooms’ story here: https://adoptees-apparel-co.weebly.com/current-families

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