After launching as a digital enterprise about a year ago, a local retailer has opened a brick-and-mortar store near VCU.
Shelley’s Gift Shop opened its doors at 1727 W. Main St. in the Fan this week. The company sells kitchen accessories, cookies, cards, jewelry, decor and other items that are intended to fill out a gift basket.
While the company’s sales thus far have largely been to out-of-state customers, owner Shelley Evans said the decision to open a physical location was motivated by interest from its local customers.
“We’ve been e-commerce and online-only for the first 16 months. What happened is we had a need for the following in Richmond. They want to see a Shelley’s Gift Shop store,” Evans said.
She said she got the idea for the business in 2018, when she was hospitalized with a brain injury after an autoimmune response to a viral infection.
During her recovery, she noticed the hospital’s gift shop was lacking. That, coupled with the rise in prominence of larger retailers, helped her see an opening for a curated gift shop business.
Evans sources her offerings from small businesses based across the country.
“The (hospital) gift shop didn’t have anything. I really like retail and just saw a need for something like this with Amazon and big box retailers being more popular,” Evans said.
After Evans got out of the hospital, she picked back up her work as an insurance underwriter and launched the gift shop. Evans left her day job to focus on the gift shop full time in January.
“We got really good feedback. So, I knew I had to leave my job,” she said.
The company primarily sells to people in need of teacher appreciation gifts, corporate gifts and real estate closing gifts, Evans said.
She said she hopes the 700-square-foot Fan store is the first of more brick-and-mortar locations.
Another recent retail addition to the Fan is Less Than, a store that sells eco-friendly household and toiletry goods like soaps, detergents and other items.