Lilly Grace clothing store moves in and opens boutique in downtown Topeka
With the ongoing renovations of the old Briman building in downtown Topeka, the new owners of the property have secured their first tenant.
Local real estate and development firm AIM Strategies, which purchased the building at 734 S. Kansas in March, plans to lease its first floor space to Lilly Grace, a girls’ clothing store owned by entrepreneur Topeka Ashley. Carson.
Carson, who also owns Ash Boutique at 921 S. Kansas, opened Lilly Grace – named after her two young daughters – on Small Business Saturday last year. Since then, she said, the concept has received overwhelming support and she’s excited to make her vision of what Lilly Grace could be a reality.
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“I love the location around the corner. I love this block. It’s so dynamic and exciting,” said Carson. “Having the girl’s store in the same block as (Evergy) Plaza, I think it’s going to be really beneficial. It attracts a lot of kids and families.”
Carson originally opened Lilly Grace at 3123 SW Huntoon St., where Ash Boutique debuted. A few weeks after opening, however, Carson decided Lilly Grace needed to be downtown. She said it made sense for her customers and logistically, given that she owns multiple stores.
“We’re basically targeting the same group, so there’s the convenience,” Carson said. “But also, I really believe in what we do downtown, and if we want more people downtown, we need more businesses downtown, so I really wanted to move this store. “
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For much of the year, Lilly Grace has operated as a section within Ash Boutique, and by early 2022, Carson expects Lilly Grace to open in her new location a few blocks away. of houses.
“I’m looking forward to almost relaunching the brand,” Carson said, “and being able to deliver on the vision we’ve taken here.”
Lilly Grace will offer expanded clothing options and a self-service candy counter
Meanwhile, renovations to the 734 S. Kansas building are continuing and AIM Strategies CEO Seth Wagoner said he expects the renovation to be completed in December.
Wagoner expects the initial renovations to cost $ 250,000 to $ 300,000.
“It’s just the first floor,” he said.
AIM Strategies is also planning renovations for the second floor of the building and hopes to start looking for a tenant to occupy that space once work on Lilly Grace is completed.
“We’re going to have it here on the first floor,” Wagoner said, “and we’re going to basically rehabilitate that second floor. We’re going to plan to eventually remove the stucco (the front of the building), essentially bringing back the 1930s-style windows. which are below. “
In the space that will soon house Lilly Grace, Carson said they are considering the checkout area on the south side of the building, with a larger counter for adults and a shorter one for children.
“We made sure we put in designs that were suitable for smaller kids this time around,” Carson said. “We get a lot of kids who come in with birthday money, tooth fairy money, an allowance – so that they can get them to do the transaction at a level that is convenient for them.”
She is also looking to expand Lilly Grace’s clothing selection, reaching out to children, from toddlers to tweens.
“And then one thing we’re going to do that I’m really passionate about – she was inspired by my daughter Lilly,” Carson said. “She’s 12, and she always wanted to have some sort of candy bar in her room. So (on the north side of the store) we’re going to build a candy station, kind of like what you had at Mr. Bulky’s, a do-it-yourself confectionery. “
Carson expects the variety of offerings on offer at Lilly Grace will also allow her to arrange space for birthday parties and events.
“With the extra space, it’s something that we can accommodate more easily,” she said.
Wagoner added that he was delighted that Lilly Grace was moving to where Briman’s leading jewelers have sat for more than 80 years.
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“It was a huge thing for us to have Ash Boutique at 921 S. Kansas,” Wagoner said. “I think we’ve done a good job as a city moving to this restaurant, this entertainment area here – not just with our stuff, but with the arrival of Ax & Ale and Brew Bank and other stuff – but retail was still apparently the thing that got a little behind the curve.
“Ash kind of led the way. And now we have the jewelry store right next to her, and it’s happening here. So we’re excited to have more and more stores in the city center.”