After moving three times in Madison over the course of many years, khaki & black owner Joel Stander feels like he's finally found the just-right home for his business.
He moved from Station Square, a shopping area connected to the Boston Post Road shopping area by a pedestrian walkway, to 762 Boston Post Road in Madison, CT last week. He was done late Friday. His first full day of business at the new location was Saturday. So far business has been great, he says.
Stander joins several other entrepreneurs and business people who are betting that opening, expanding, or otherwise committing to the town's main retail and restaurant district is a smart move. Asiye Kay is expanding her store, , across the street from the new khaki & black location. Asiye's is next to , which recently signed a lease to stay in that location for 20 more years. down the street, is doubling it's space to accomodate the increasing flow of business. , a marketplace of goods from around the world, recently opened around the corner on Wall Street, in not one, but two buildings.
Fate of R. J. Julia still to be determined
Next to khaki & black is , one of the pillars of the downtown community. Roxanne Coady, the owner of the bookstore and the building it is in, has said, but she's also said she is committed to having it remain a bookstore. She's said , some from people with the money to buy it, and some from people with the expertise to buy it, but not from someone who has both the money and the expertise.
Many in town are hoping she will either find the right person, or serve as a successful matchmaker for those who have expressed interest.
Not all the news downtown has been good. The store that used to be in the space where khaki & black opened, , closed earlier this year. Owner Julie Francis sent good luck wishes to Stander on khaki & black's Facebook page, and then stopped by the store over the weekend to drop off soundRunner bracelets for any old customers who might wander in to khaki & black looking for running shoes.
Best Saturday ever
soundRunner still has two locations, one in Branford and one in Old Saybrook. When Francis closed the Madison store, she said she did so reluctantly and in part because she felt three stores so close together essentially ended up competing with each other for the same business.
Stander said, if initial sales are any indication, that 762 Boston Post Road will be perfect for his store, which specializes in high-end dresses, jeans, shirts, and speciality glassware. He said the first day he was open was his best Saturday ever, followed by his best Monday ever.
He says he's thrilled to be working with other business people downtown. He's featuring flowers from a Madison florist at the front of his shop and his walls are adorned by artwork from a Madison artist. He said his landlord, Bob Genesius, has worked with him to make sure he has terms that will allow his business to be successful. On top of that, Stander said Genesius and his wife were there over the weekend to make sure that the store was in good shape, and that they power washed the outside of the building to make sure it looked good.
Genesius is one of several landlords downtown who are working hard to make sure they bring in and retain the right kind of tenants, such as restaurants and retail operations that attract foot traffic and create momentum. Another example is Davis Realty, which owns the building where Madison Art Cinemas is located. Arnold Gorlick, the owner of Madison Art Cinemas, said .
Getting everything in just-so condition
Stander said he loves the wide open space in his new location, the wood floors, the view out on to Madison's main street, and even the old historic safe in the back that was one of the few things that survived when the building that used to be on that spot burned many, many years ago.
He said he and his staff worked hard to get the new place in just-so condition, including painting the walls a nice shade of khaki. He says he is very happy with the way things are going, particularly his busy first full day of business.
"We were crazy busy, it was awesome," he said. "It's a great, great location."