Kelley's Mens Shop is joining the business community along Bridge Road. The second Kelley's location is set to open Aug. 28.
CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Shopping space in the Bridge Road area doesn't open up very often, Kristi Walker said, so when the owners of Kelley's Mens Shop heard there was a vacancy, they didn't hesitate.
"We've been talking about it for a couple of years but space is at a premium up in South Hills," said Walker, vice president for Kelley's Mens Shop. "When this space became available we jumped on the chance to take it."
The longtime Charleston clothing store, which opened in 1934, will soon open a second location in the Shops at Bridge Road.
The family-owned company will continue to operate its original West Side store location but hopes to open doors to its new shop on Aug. 28. The new store, to be known as Kelley's On Bridge, will be smaller and feature more casual, sportswear. The store is moving into the former children's store, Sweetpeas, that's moving to a new downtown location.
Courtney Persinger, who serves as city councilman for the Bridge Road area, said he's always happy to see a business go in on Bridge Road. It's a unique area to shop in Charleston, Persinger said, with a mixture of shops and restaurants that draws people from inside and outside the community.
"Charleston, West Virginia, presents a challenging lay of the land for citizens," Persinger said. "It's really hard to find a place to live where you can walk to restaurants, shops and activities and the Bridge Road Shops allow that for our community in South Hills."
The additional store will fill a much needed retail void for men shopping in the area that fits well on Bridge Road, Walker said.
"When you walk into a box store you're kind of on your own to find what you need, where in the smaller shops like the shops at Bridge Road, we all know our customers," she said. "I'm looking forward to working with the other stores and to be in more of a neighborhood setting."
Walker and her husband live and shop in the area, and said Kelley's already has a working relationship with many of the storeowners in the area.
Elisa Payne, owner of Eggplant, just across from the new Kelley's location, thinks the new store could bring in new customers to the area.
"It's all women and you don't have a lot of men up here working so it can be overwhelming," Payne said. "I think it's good. It will just add a whole other level of customers up here."
Payne bought the business in October after working there for seven years and is constantly surprised at how close the business community on Bridge Road is.
"We all talk, we bounce ideas off each other, we advertise together and try not to cross market our items," Payne said. "Coming from a community that was more urban outside of Atlanta, you just didn't develop those ties or just didn't run into people that knew your best friend. It's unique."
To begin with, Kelley's will move employees around between the two stores. Hopefully around Christmas time and busier times in the year, the store will hire students or part-time employees, Walker said.
Reach Caitlin Cook at email@example.com or 304-348-5113.