I am part of a book club of avid readers. If you don’t actually read the book, you can get kicked out. My friend Alison, who runs it, means business. I, of course, never read the books but have remained a member because I always show, I get Stomping Ground to make the food when I host, and of course I drink lots of wine – so I am enough fun to keep around.
I tell you this because while I don’t read fiction much these days, I do read a ton of articles and books about entrepreneurs, retail and fashion. I can’t get enough of it; I even listen to this kind of content on earbuds while I walk my dogs. I’m not just talking about stories on what is “in” today in fashion, but things like the Business of Fashion and Retail Mastery. My husband is also a Twitter addict with an eclectic feed and is always sending me articles in the genre.
So, when he recently came across an article in the Wall Street Journal, it sent me into a panic. This and many other articles have titles like “Retail Apocalypse” and “Retail Graveyard.” Basically, the year 2019 has proven to be a tough year for brick-and-mortar retail, with more units closing – 7,000 storefronts – in the first three quarters alone than in any previous year. This is the physical manifestation of the “death of retail” as the country transitions to shopping online.
Naturally, as the owner of two stores, I dug into this article about seven thousand stores closing in the last nine months. Once I stopped breathing into a paper bag, I got it together and got some perspective. I rationalized: this shouldn’t freak me out, this should actually make me proud. This grim reality of the industry makes us at The Shoe Hive and The Hive appreciate our loyal clients even more. On the business front, things have never been better for our stores, even in this challenging and changing retail environment, and we know it’s only because of you.
I would not have these two stores if it weren’t for the amazing community that is Alexandria. I have said it before, and I will say it again: there is no other town I would rather be in. Yes, you can find me complaining at times about this or that (I’m looking at you, scooters.) But this is the place to own a small business. Can we also talk about all the amazing stores that are my neighbors? When I went to market last month and walked the halls of the Javits Center in New York, I would see a great brand and then remember someone else carries it. Between TSALT, Bishop and Periwinkle, Threadleaf, Mint Condition and Donna Lewis, I feel like we have every brand you could ever want right here in Old Town. Just walk down King Street and you can find everything you need, of course you have to go down the side streets. I’m not talking just about clothing and shoes; we have everything you need right here in Old Town.
I also can’t forget to mention the amazing people who have worked with me at the stores over the years. The women (and yes, one guy, we love you, Chris Kidd) who have been a part of growing this business are nothing short of remarkable. They have treated my business like it was their own, and I am so happy that I have remained friends with so many people who have worked here over the years. I have been to weddings, baby showers and so many different things long after their time at The Shoe Hive or The Hive and nothing makes me happier.
And last, but not least, I have to talk about the brands that I carry. After 16 years I have created a new threshold for brands to grace our shelves. From now on, I am only working with brands that want to be my partners: companies, big or small, that are kind, logistically amenable, and want to help small businesses grow and succeed. I am so lucky to have the lines that I do and so I thought it would be fun to show you all 16 of the brands that really have helped me grow to become the store that I am today.
Thank you to everyone who has helped me over the years – the customers, the brands, the business community and the amazing people who have worked at the stores. I wouldn’t be here without you.
Heard the buzz? The Shoe Hive & The Hive are a pair of luxury boutiques in Old Town Alexandria. Featuring both big name designers like Rag & Bone and Stuart Weitzman and smaller brands like AGL and L'Agence, our unique selection and impeccable service are what set us apart.
The Shoe Hive The Hive
127 S. Fairfax Street 301 Cameron Street
Alexandria, VA 22314 Alexandria, VA 22314