We are Brooks Keen and Paul Thorleifson and, with the constant aid of our partners and our families, we own and operate Towns Apparel. Brooks, a man consisting largely of limbs, turned an upbringing by the owner of Manitou’s finest construction company into a career of designing and building some of the Winnipeg and surrounding area’s finest houses and renovation projects. Paul, a fledgling accountant, took a scenic route from university to now finally working on his CPA with a small accounting firm in downtown Winnipeg.
The Towns designs have morphed from a tattoo idea, to a laser-cut piece of wooden “art” we hung on our Osborne Village apartment wall, to an outline we printed on some of our own clothing, but it has always helped us show pride in our hometown. It wasn’t until we were cooped up during the early winter days of the COVID-19 outbreak did we finally decide to see if we could make a business of putting small towns across Manitoba back on the map… literally.
One of the most rewarding parts of the business so far has been passing off garments and having people recount stories brought to mind by some area they see on their map. Towns went from being a way for us to show the pride we have in the town that moulded us and grew into the way that we can help everyone else show off where their roots lie. Whether it be an intersection with a lane or two, a classic prairie grid town built on what’s probably now an abandoned rail line, or a town carved out of the rocky landscapes of the Whiteshell, we’ve found there’s never a place someone isn’t proud to call home.