Loving Lemons drops into Church Hill

Inside the Loving Lemons gift shop. (Photos by Michael Thompson)

Inside the Loving Lemons gift shop. (Photos by Michael Thompson)

A Church Hill entrepreneur is trading in roses for lemons.

After announcing plans over the summer to open retail shop Linger Rose, Rachel Kellman has switched gears and opened Loving Lemons in the storefront at 2709 E. Marshall St. She opened the gift shop Nov. 2 and plans to have a grand opening Nov. 23.

Loving Lemons, a brick-and-mortar incarnation of one of Kellman’s online stores, sells assorted goods, including candy, organic soap, antique vases and jewelry. Kellman, 26, launched the store online in 2012 as part of KL Fashions, the umbrella business for her online retail stores.

The storefront at 2709 E. Marshall St.

The storefront at 2709 E. Marshall St.

Kellman had planned to open a storefront version of Linger Rose, another of her online brands that sells designer purses and jewelry, in the Church Hill space. But she changed her business plans after speaking with residents in the neighborhood.

“It’s all about what would help the neighborhood grow,” Kellman said. “A gift shop would be a better fit than a boutique. Higher-end jewelry can cause a lot of problems.”

Kellman also said a surge in online sales for Loving Lemons helped persuade her to scratch plans for the jewelry store.

“My dream had always been for Linger Rose,” Kellman said. “When I really sat down to think about it, I felt ill at the idea of Linger Rose. Church Hill needs Loving Lemons. It needs a retail store. It just felt right.”

The new shop will get some help from Bon Secours, which awarded her a $2,500 grant from its Supporting East End Entrepreneurship Development (SEED) program. Kellman expects to receive those funds in January. She might also qualify for more SEED money over the next two years, depending on her compliance with the stipulations of the grant.

Every item for sale in Loving Lemons is under $100, and the average item is $12. Kellman said she wants her clientele to be able to come in and buy a gift, some candy and a card without having to spend more than $25. Loving Lemons’ merchandise consists of both local and national brands, in addition to a supply of antiques from Kellman’s late grandmother.

Loving Lemons is the latest small business to test the Church Hill retail scene.

Richmond-based cafe Urban Farmhouse has plans in the works for a location at 310 N. 33rd St., and bridal shop Urban Set Bride is aiming to open in December at 602 N. 29th St.

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