Walking toward independencePublished 9:14am Monday, September 14, 2009
By JESSICA SIEFF
Niles Daily Star
BUCHANAN – In just the latest example of how small businesses can contribute to Main Street economies, Buchanan is seeing buzz generated by its newest business, started by one of their own.
Justin Brown, a Buchanan High School graduate and native of the city recently opened the doors to his boutique style shop Justin Brown, selling shoes, handbags and accessories for men and women.
As flags fly outside his shop, at 107 Main St., letting customers know he’s open, Brown is inside pricing a shipment of new shoes that had just come in.
Since opening at the end of August, Brown said that business has “been pretty good. Everyone welcomed me,” he continued.
Brown started selling shoes back in high school at University Park Mall in Indiana.
“I kind of knew I liked selling shoes,” he said.
Eventually he moved away from what he liked doing and for the last five years Brown said that he had been working for the railroad.
Then, “I decided I didn’t want to work there anymore. I wanted to work for myself.”
Even as he began feeling out his new business plan, Brown said he knew he wanted to keep his business local.
“I knew in Buchanan,” he said. “But I didn’t know where in Buchanan.”
As the recently recognized historic downtown district has been renovated many of its buildings along Front Street, Brown found one that seemed to suit his business just right, on just off Front on Main Street.
Though he said “a lot” of work had to be done to the space, including several coats of paint, new carpet and a switch out of the lighting for higher efficiency bulbs and the installation of new heating and cooling system the building, a former law office, also lent itself to the business of selling shoes.
Made up of two main rooms, Brown has turned one into the showroom for his women’s shoes, accessories and handbags.
Shelves were already a part of that room’s design, allowing Brown the necessary space to put out boots, heels and casual shoes.
In the men’s area, Brown is showcasing local artists and men’s accessories and gifts, including t-shirts, belts and cologne. A couple of coats of paint and new carpet await that room before men’s shoes will also be available.
“This just worked out perfectly,” Brown said of the space.
To prepare for his opening, Brown said he went online and searched for popular styles. Though his shelves are already filled with everything from brightly colored heels to fall and winter boots and dress shoes, he said he wants to increase his inventory with even more name brands.
“I want to have something for everyone who comes in here,” he said.
The store has gotten a good response so far and Brown keeps an eye open for customers, adding that he is keeping his pricing competitive and affordable.
As for his location, Brown is confident about doing business in town.
“I’m pretty confident that the community will come down and shop (here),” he said.
Justin Brown is closed on Mondays, open Tuesday through Thursday from 12 to 8 p.m., Friday 12 to 6 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday 12 to 5 p.m.