By way of Williamsburg, two brothers are betting on downtown Richmond as the new home for their startup retail venture.
Jason and Christopher Salas are preparing to open Thread Count Shirts at 209 E. Broad St. The 1,000-square-foot space will double as a retail store and headquarters for the business, which launched in January in Williamsburg to offer custom T-shirt design, graphic design and illustration services.
“We looked at a number of locations to establish our operation, and we felt like this location in Richmond was ideal,” Jason said. “We just like what we see happening in the city, and wanted to bring our first retail location here.”
They’ll look to open in mid-August and are investing about $100,000 to outfit the space, which was previously home to the 2nd Street Market and Discount Store, which closed in 2014. Richmond-based UrbanCore purchasing the building in 2015 and renovated it.
Tony Rolando, a broker with Pollard & Bagby, represented Thread Count in its lease. Reilly Marchant of Cushman & Wakefield | Thalhimer represented the landlord.
Thread Count took over the space July 15.
“The idea behind Thread Count is to help groups and organizations brand their events, and then incorporate the brand into the design of the shirt,” Christopher Salas said. “It’s a more efficient model that we think will catch on since we can offer all of those services in-house.”
Both Jason, 46, and Christopher, 38, own and operate Salas Design Co., a small graphic design studio that services several large clients throughout Northern Virginia, Richmond and Hampton Roads.
Jason said they began getting requests for shirt printing services while doing client design work – especially for large company events and special programs.
“It just made since to have all of these services available in one location,” Jason Salas said. “So we decided to launch Thread Count.”
The company plans to print on its own brand of T-shirts, long sleeve shirts and sweatshirts, Jason Salas said, adding that orders can be completed in 24 hours.
The location also will offer onsite shirt printing for small orders.
“We’re going to have computers set up where people can come in and design what to put on their shirts,” Christopher salas said. “We can pretty much print anything onsite … scanned photos, pictures off peoples’ cell phones … we want to be able to provide the flexibility people need.”
He said the turnaround for a single shirt print would be less than 20 minutes.
“People will be able to come in, design their shirt, and leave with their shirt.”
Prices start at $20 for one off-white shirt printed in the shop. Designs printed on a colored shirt are $25, Christopher Salas said, and there are discounts for bulk orders.
Since launching the company earlier this year, the firm has retained several clients, including the Capital Chili Cookout and DMV Beer Festival.
Christopher, a VCU alumnus, said Thread Count is looking to pick up corporate accounts from Richmond companies.
Thread Count’s arrival adds to a wave of new commercial tenants along that stretch of Broad Street, led in part by redevelopment of many of the inline buildings.
Richmond-based Monument Cos. last month purchased the Sunny Men’s Wear building at 326 E. Broad St., where it’s teaming with EAT Partners’ owner Chris Tsui to open a restaurant on the ground floor along with 20 apartments.
Other commercial tenants that recently relocated to the neighborhood include Rider Boot, Ledbury, Taylor’s Barbershop and Issa Foss Design.