I can't believe I am actually admitting this, but I have never been to the U.P. ( pausing for horrific gasps). No, really. I have lived in Michigan, on and off, since I was 8 and have never crossed the bridge to what most describe as "pure heaven".

Two guys are now banking on everything that's peaceful and fantastic about the Upper Peninsula. Matt Palomaki and Gary Campioni, who is now a Flint resident, met when they attended Northern Michigan University. The two have now teamed up to start a new online t shirt and apparel company called Show UP-ness.  And yes, the guys admit the name is ....interesting, but it’s meant to be tongue-and-cheek.

Photo:Courtesy of Show UP-ness
Photo:Courtesy of Show UP-ness  Founders Gary Campioni & Matt Palomaki


During a quarantine Facetime call over coffee, the two came up with the business idea, and the name. "The name started from a phrase my friend Jim would use about me. 'That's just my UP-ness showing’. So Matt and I decided to pull the trigger and start a business', Gary said.

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The friends, who describe themselves as "two Finnlander’s that met at NMU in 1995 and have been friends ever since", started the new business to help people show off their love for everything U.P. by showing off their "UP-ness".  Campioni says, “When you have it you know it. It’s really what’s at your core, it’s what’s inside of you. Sometimes it is easier to show it, than it is to describe it.”

Gary & Matt know that true Yoopers will appreciate all Show UP-ness has to offer. Even the homepage for the company website spells it out posing the question, "When is my U.P.-ness showing?". ( Feel free to pause and answer).

The site launched last week and Gary says sales have been great so far. Currently, the company has items like t-shirts, bumper stickers, hats, and Koozies in hunter orange, of course.  Most products have the catch phrase "It's Just My U.P.-ness Showing". They will be adding more items soon.

Although both have moved on from the "906" since graduating college, they still feel the bond with the area that only a Yooper feels. "There’s an instant connection, when you meet up with a fellow Yooper. Possibly because they’ve all had to shovel 300 inches of snow, and always stopped to help push a car out of the snow", Campioni said.

There is no doubt the U.P. is beyond beautiful, but both know what really makes it so special. “There is no place on earth like the U.P. We have our Great Lakes, hiking and biking trails, mountains and the Northern Lights. But really what makes the U.P. so special is the people", Campioni said.

After chatting with Gary I now have a new goal....buy the shirt...and finally see the U.P. You can get yours now by visiting the Show UP-ness online store.


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