A 65-year-old clothing store on Devine Street is looking to the future as it celebrates its expanded and remodeled outlet this month.
Brittons, at 2818 Devine St., nearly doubled in size over the summer, adding almost 1,600 square feet to expand its clothing lines, floor displays and dressing rooms.
Store owners seized on the opportunity to expand as neighboring M Boutique moves to the new nearby Whole Foods shopping center. The remodeling also comes within a few years of two longtime Columbia mens clothing stores closing down.
With Louries closing and Weathers closing, we saw a large increase in business, said Lucky Levinson, whose family has operated the business since 1947. Levinson runs the store with his sister, Stacy. Her husband, Perry Lancaster, manages the business. We just saw an opportunity to have a larger space.
The family collaborated on the expansion with customer and local architect, Dale Marshall, a founding principal of Architrave Inc. When they saw the design plans Marshall had drawn up for the store, we were just blown away, Stacy Levinson said, adding it was exactly what they wanted.
This was a vision into the future, she said of the expansion, which poises the store for its next chapter.
This summer, crews from Bobbitt Construction took down a 12-inch thick, 36-foot long concrete wall between Brittons and the former M Boutique space. Store owners chose LED lighting that gives off less heat, conserves energy and with more windows makes the space brighter than its previous bulbs.
They also added an office and a kitchenette, and moved the sewing room to an expanded space in the rear of the building.
The expansion allows the once-cramped business more room for its:
• Expanded tuxedo rental business
• New Gitman mens dress shirt line
• Larger jewelry display, which has doubled in size
• Large check-out counter with custom-made cabinets
• Display of mannequins inside and in store windows
The piece d resistance just might be the dressing rooms.
Stacy Levinson visited dozens of stores in New York City on a store-shopping trip, searching for just the right look for the womens dressing rooms. She finally got her inspiration from a Carolina Herrera store.
Draped cloth opens into a posh room with a full, backlit mirror covering one wall. The room is decorated with a warm, fur rug and a fabric-covered chair. Adjustable lighting allows women to survey how they look in outfits in bright and dim light. The store now has three womens dressing rooms, up from two.
While the two mens dressing rooms are more basic, they are double the size of the previous ones, allowing more wiggle room.
Like many retailers, Brittons, which sells exclusive brands including Southern Tide and Eileen Fisher and caters to the Gamecock crowd, still is feeling the effects of the economic downturn, manager Lancaster said. But the remodel gives Brittons an eye toward brighter times.
We are positioning ourselves for the future, Lancaster said.