Local entrepreneur Anne Kennon opened maternity boutique It’s Hip To Be Round in Carytown five years ago in 2005. Last year, she signed a lease at the West Broad Village development, the first retailer to take the plunge and get space in the newly-constructed mixed use center. Save for several restaurants, the development has remained […]
Local entrepreneur Anne Kennon opened maternity boutique It’s Hip To Be Round in Carytown five years ago in 2005. Last year, she signed a lease at the West Broad Village development, the first retailer to take the plunge and get space in the newly-constructed mixed use center.
Save for several restaurants, the development has remained largely unleased for a variety of reasons, including lease agreements with larger anchor stores that pulled out and caused a domino effect of sorts where smaller retailers could break their lease if the larger tenants changed their minds about coming to West Broad Village.
“We got out there a year too early, and weren’t able to last,” Kennon said about her Short Pump store. “I’m sad and really disappointed. I didn’t open with intentions of closing in 9 months.”
Besides the lack of foot traffic, Kennon said her customer base was quite different from the Carytown store. “Customers always said, ‘I really wish you were in Short Pump,’ but [the clientele] is really super different. I went out there with the intention of bringing my same store out there, but found that were were having to provide a different product mix.”
Kennon says traffic increased dramatically when the new Children’s Museum of Richmond/Short Pump opened last month, but it was too little, too late.
“I really, honestly believe in this [development]. I chose it over more established ones because I think it has a great future. If I had just held off a year things could be completely different and I’d never say no to going back out there.”
Kennon said E/Class Partners, major investors in the center, bent over backwards to help her out, but could only do so much and she had no choice but to close.
“I wanted to refocus myself and get back to where the business as a whole was several years ago.”
“Once the center’s retail mix is there and is more concentrated, even in 6 to 12 months, I could step back into it.” Kennon says she feels she’s leaving just as the development is getting itself off the ground, with a coffee shop, candy store and several restaurants planning to lease space in the near future.
“I want to emphasize I have no hard feelings towards West Broad Village or E/Class Partners, and I could be back in the future.”
Kennon’s store joins a growing list of local Carytown retailers who have opened second locations in Short Pump, only to close one or both locations some time later, including Glass & Powder Boardshop, Bev’s Homemade Ice Cream, Martha’s Mixture and Soak.
The Carytown It’s Hip To Be Round remains open for business.