Change is inevitable in every part of life, but for one Fondren retailer, it’s what he lives for. Ron Chane is ready to undertake his 14th renovation in as many years this month, adding a men’s boutique and bike shop. He’ll also update his ever popular Soma/Wilai ladies boutique, skate and roller derby selections and Jackson tees.
The project begins around January 15 with fresh paint, a rearrange and new brands in Soma. “We’re keeping it true to under $100”, Chane says, “and stepping up the accessories, candles, perfumes and such”.
Following the freshening there, Chane welcomes a men’s shop he’s, for now, calling Slavebird. Carrying plain tees in V and crew, pullovers, button ups, underwear and socks, Slavebird will also be the Fondren source for guys who are looking for cargos, khakis and jeans. “These aren’t your standard cheesy, overpriced brands either”, he says. Look for Element, Rvca, American Apparel, Alternative Apparel, Fallen and a few others in the men’s line.Â
Chane explains the concept: “Slavebird is for that Fondren, Belhaven hard-core working young socialite who’s not a yuppy, who wants to dress cool but not spend a ton or have to go to a mall. They’ll find an indie brand they’ve never heard of. Basically, if you want to step up your game up for your girl, your mom or your job, we’ll be the place”.
It’s something he’s tried before but never had the right space for. “We’ve smart sized things to make room, really, based on customer demand”. And that’s not all for the guys: Chane is stepping into the boutique shoe business. You’ll find the popular Clark brand along with Element, Converse, Jack Purcell and a hip new line from Vans called OTW. Slavebird will also carry Snotty North Jackson and South Jackson Trailer Trash, two lines of men’s aftershave.
Shifting gears, Chane will design and sell single speed bikes from Republic. “No two will be alike”, he says. “This is ‘cash and carry’: you see it, you like it, you buy it”. The store will partner with Revolution Mobile Bike for discounted service and repairs. The new addition will also boast accessories for cyclists like grips, pedals, lights, tires, tubes, and pumps. And, roller derby participants will like the “ready to roll” line of skates the store will stock, too.
It sounds like a general store coming together, we say. Chane is quick to let us know it’s all part of an ulterior motive. “As a tee shirt designer, my goal is to get people in here to buy my designs. It’s that simple”. With 112 new designs coming in 2012, Chane says it’s a die hard attitude and evolution that keeps it interesting. “People wonder ‘what’s next’? Curiosity kills complacency. Are we a bike shop? Are we a ladies or men’s boutique? Are we skate shop? My goal”, Chane says, “is to get as many people in as I can”.