HILO » Two Hawaii brothers are selling T-shirts commemorating a Big Island lava flow as a way to make money in case the molten rock burns down their auto parts store.
The lava from Kilauea Volcano has been threatening homes, business and roads for months after slowly creeping into the small town of Pahoa.
The shirt looks like a concert souvenir, and the image shows lava oozing between quaint downtown storefronts. A boy rides a surfboard on top, and the Hawaiian volcano goddess Pele stretches her arms above.
The shirt reads "2014 Go With the Flow Tour."
Brady and Myke Metcalf say they wanted to evoke a rock concert shirt. Brady sketched the design after a few beers and margaritas.
They came up with the idea in October, when it looked like the lava flow was bearing down on their 27-year-old business, Pahoa Auto Parts. They planned to sell the shirts from their truck.
"We needed a Plan B," Brady said. "We needed some way to keep some money coming in. … Things were looking bad, and I thought, ‘What about a T-shirt?’"
The lava flow from one of the world’s most active volcanos emerged from a vent in June. It crawled sporadically through uninhabited areas before entering Pahoa this fall, crossing a rural road and burning a house.
So far the brothers have sold 500 shirts to buyers as far flung as Germany, Spain, Texas and Utah, the Hawaii Tribune-Herald reported.
A short list on the shirts shows the famous Hawaii island sites that have been destroyed by lava and the dates they were taken. The last stop on the tour is Pahoa Auto Parts, with the date labeled as "2014-2015?"
Not everyone is a fan. Some people have objected to the apparel’s depiction of Pele and the town being covered with lava.
The brothers say the shirts are an attempt to take a light-hearted approach to a worrisome event that has kept Pahoa residents on edge.
"The picture of the lava — this isn’t us wishing for this to happen," Brady said. "It’s a cartoon."