Church Hill retailer Dear Neighbor opens second location in Irvington

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The interior of Dear Neighbhor’s new Irvington store. (Photos courtesy Dear Neighbor)

Church Hill’s Dear Neighbor has settled into river country for good. 

The retailer, which opened in Richmond in 2016 specializing in women’s clothing and gifts, last month opened a second location in Irvington. 

Owner Kristy Santelli Cotter said the new store is located in an old Odd Fellows Lodge that she purchased this year. The move followed a five-month pop-up in Irvington in 2022 to see if the town was suitable for a full-on expansion. 

While the Northern Neck is a popular vacation spot for Richmonders, Cotter said Irvington’s full-time community and the surrounding Whitestone and Kilmarnock areas will support Dear Neighbor year-round. 

“A lot of the other stores have kind of the same river vibe, if you will,” Cotter said. “And we bring an elegant but edgy offering that people don’t necessarily have access to but that’s what they love about it.”

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The old Odd Fellows Lodge.

The Irvington property at 19 King Carter Drive houses the store on the first floor and has a second story that Cotter seeks to lease out to another business. 

The Odd Fellows Lodge was built in 1913 for a chapter of the international fraternity. The Odd Fellows are a community service and personal development organization that emerged around the same time as Freemasonry. The group at first accepted only men, but later formed a branch called Daughters of Rebekah to allow women into the organization. Over 70 Odd Fellows lodges exist in Virginia.

Cotter and her husband and business partner Evan Cotter have multiple renovations under their belt and transformed the lodge themselves. The couple replaced the flooring, built a wall for the dressing room, installed an HVAC system and redid the plumbing for the building.

The property also came with a second, smaller building that used to be a garage or storage space. Dear Neighbor will host pop-ups in that space, having started on the Fourth of July weekend with Rosewood Clothing and Lasso La Lune.

Cotter declined to comment on the cost of the Irvington building. The sale is not reflected in online public records. 

She said she’s tried to incorporate Odd Fellows imagery into the new store after finding a red hang tag stating “Love One Another” left in the building, which she felt reflected the mission of Dear Neighbor. 

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Dear Neighbor owners Kristy Santelli Cotter and Evan Cotter.

“I feel like people, when of a certain age, walk into a store, and they automatically feel like, ‘Oh, this isn’t for me.’ And we’re like, ‘No, let us get you into a dressing room’ and then they leave feeling so amazing about themselves and excited about their purchase and willing to try new things. And I think that’s what we do really, really well,” Cotter said. 

She has also used Odd Fellows artwork from the National Archives in the store, including an image of a hand with a heart on the palm, which symbolizes charity. She is seeking an artist to paint “Love One Another” over the door, as an Odd Fellows homage.

The new location builds onto Dear Neighbor’s women’s clothing and gifts inventory with men’s and children’s clothing. It also sells accessories and products such as straw hats, wicker bags and sundresses at the Irvington store.

“I’m buying more of a whimsical country feel,” Cotter said. “And then in the city I do buy for more city life, but we have a blend of both in both locations.”

Cotter said she’s working to establish new connections in the Irvington area through a weekly newsletter. Her first issue shared her and her husband’s story on why they purchased a home in Irvington and teased upcoming “Meet the Neighbors” newsletters that will introduce other local business owners in town. She said she plans to work in the store all summer so she can meet as many locals as possible. 

The most recent Meet the Neighbors feature highlighted the owners of Livi’s Market, a convenience store across the street from Dear Neighbor.

“We’re a retail store, but we’re all about community,” she said. 

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David Seibert
David Seibert
23 hours ago

Love it guys! Congrats!

Charles Frankenhoff
Charles Frankenhoff
4 minutes ago

Irvington is really on fire these days (relatively speaking)