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Tuesday, June 25, 2024

Introducing the Newest Black-Owned Sportswear Brand With a Culturally Rich Street Appeal

Harrison Lewis, Founder of Grnd Apparel

Nationwide — Harrison Lewis, a second-generation combat veteran and doctoral candidate, is no stranger to hard things. After years of service in special operations and traveling to the edges of physical ability, he founded GRND, a sportswear brand with a mission to inspire others to give 100% and then some in sports, fitness, and life.

GRND is a Black and veteran-owned clothing brand that produces high-quality, functional athletic wear with a culturally rich street appeal. The essence of GRND lies in the various experiences of our people while drawing inspiration from their cultural expressions. The clothing apparel features comfortable and stylish activewear that features inspirational messaging rooted in their core values.

The story of GRND is deeply personal to Harrison. From leaving his dreams of being a pro-athlete for military service, to dealing with anxiety and depression after his military departure, every step on his journey has been a true GRND. Inspired by the heart-wrenching unexpected loss of his best friend, in the line of duty, Harrison was inspired to create a brand that embodied the emotion we all feel when we wake up and GRND on a daily basis.

While serving in the 75th Ranger Regiment, Harrison was hit with an unspeakable tragedy. On the 7th of September, 2018, his roommate and best friend, Captain Connor Bendarzyk, was killed in a training incident in preparation for an upcoming deployment. This loss changed the trajectory of Harrison’s life. Connor embodied the GRND, through his commitment to excellence, his country, and his community. “We have all suffered loss in life, I think it’s important to carry the reflections of our loved ones forward and draw inspiration from the impact they have made on the world,” Harrison asserts.

Athletics have always been a part of Harrison’s life. From childhood ball to his career in the military, his transition to studying physical therapy, and creating an athletic brand seemed to fit the course of his life. However, the journey presented its own set of unique trials. Through every challenge whether overcoming weight struggles as a young Black kid, pushing limits in bodybuilding and CrossFit, or coping with the loss of loved ones—Harrison has embodied the relentless spirit of the GRND. His story is one of perseverance, redefining his limits at every turn and dedicating his life to helping others do the same.

Harrison’s vision for GRND extends far beyond apparel. He aspires to build a state-of-the-art training facility, equipped with a strength and conditioning program and sports rehabilitation center. These initiatives aim to serve Black youth and Veterans who are among the highest at-risk communities of mental health illness, suicide, and the lack of psychological support. GRND hopes to aid and contribute to the advancement of mental health access and resources to support our nation’s veterans as well as empower our local communities. “As a physical therapist, my dream is to treat young black athletes who don’t have access to sports rehab. As a kid from a small town in Louisiana, when we got injured playing sports, we just rubbed some dirt on it. I want to provide critical and necessary access to care our youth need so they can continue to GRND towards their dreams.”

To Harrison, GRND is more than a brand, it’s an emotion. “It’s the feeling we all get when our alarm goes off at 5am and we know we have to get up and go get it for our family. It’s why there isn’t an ‘I’ in GRND. We’ve never done the things we have to do for ourselves, because there’s always a greater reason for our efforts. Whether you are a nurse on a 13-hour shift, a Soldier in the field preparing for a deployment, or an athlete trying to make the team, you are the GRND, and you know what it means to give 100% and then some. Harrison continues to GRND and will earn his Doctorate in Physical Therapy from the University of Puget Sound in Tacoma, WA in May of 2025. He is currently completing his final clinical rotations in Dallas, Texas before taking boards and becoming a full-time CEO.

For more information on GRND and the communities it serves, visit the official website at TheGRNDcollective.com

For press inquiries, contact Harrison Lewis at (337) 224-7832 or lewisfunctionalfitness@gmail.com