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Biz Buzz: Former Richmond couple opening jewelry shop in Maine
Biz Buzz

Biz Buzz: Former Richmond couple opening jewelry shop in Maine

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Rob and Maddie Coppage packed up and moved from Richmond to Maine this year with plans to buy a long-standing jewelry business in the tourist town of Southwest Harbor.

The deal almost fell apart twice as the husband and wife negotiated with the owners of the business.

With guidance from Art Mattox, a retired business executive and a volunteer with Richmond SCORE, a nonprofit organization that mentors small businesses and startups, they closed the deal.

“It transfers to us on Nov. 1,” said Rob Coppage last week, speaking by telephone from Maine.

“That is when we are launching our new website. We will be opening year-round,” he said. The business has previously been open just during the spring and summer tourist season.

The Coppages see opportunities to expand and do a lot more with online sales particularly around the holidays. Rob Coppage, 29, made and sold jewelry while in Richmond.

Buying an existing business wasn’t easy or quick, but they are glad they did it, the Coppages said.

“Art definitely held our hand,” Rob Coppage said.

“SCORE provided an excellent resource, through Art, of everything we needed to know and everything we didn’t know we needed to know about buying a business, the cost and what is the exact process. (Art) has been with us every step of the way,” Coppage said.

The Coppages declined to say how much they paid for the business. They are keeping the business’s name the same, Aylen & Son Jewelry, because it has been around for more than 30 years and has a following.

“We are also going to be buying the rights to all the molds. He has over 300 different designs, only 40 of which he actively uses. I am going to utilize all the molds again and ease into my designs in the next couple of years,” Rob Coppage said.

The Coppages spent the summer tourist season working at the business, located near popular Acadia National Park, learning from former owners Judy and Peter Aylen. Maddie, 21, will focus on sales and other operations.

Rob Coppage said he found out about SCORE while searching the internet for information on buying a business.

“They are just vast sums of knowledge and just awesome,” he said.

Need Supply Co. has new fulfillment center

Richmond-based upscale trendy clothing company Need Supply Co. recently moved some operations into a 60,000-square-foot fulfillment center at 540 Eastpark Court in eastern Henrico County.

Rob Dirom of commercial real estate firm CBRE | Richmond represented the tenant in the lease negotiations.

Founded in Richmond in 1996, Need Supply has grown into an international clothing company. Customers are attracted to the company’s curated mix of expensive designer fashions alongside more affordable brands.

The company maintains its headquarters and flagship store at 3100 W. Cary St. and also has space in Scott’s Addition where it operates a photo studio. Need Supply also is providing operational support to luxury clothing retailer Totokaelo, acquired last year by Cormack Capital Corp., which has a minority ownership stake in Need Supply.

Christopher Bossola, Need Supply’s co-founder and CEO, answered a few questions about the new fulfillment center and other plans:

Q: Did you retain all of your existing space in Scott’s Addition?

A: “Yes, mostly for offices and our photo studio operations.”

Q: Did you add any additional employees? If so, how many?

A: “In preparation for the move, we’ve added about a dozen positions to our fulfillment operations and will continue to hire for both temporary and permanent positions as we approach our peak holiday season.”

Q: How is the space divided? Is it offices or warehouse areas or call center?

A: “Mostly fulfillment space with a small office for that team. Our experience specialist team (call center) remained with the e-commerce and photo studio teams in Scott’s Addition.”

Q: Why the need for more space?

A: “Fulfillment for our growing e-commerce business at Need Supply and Totokaelo, plus distribution to the stores in Richmond, New York (Totokaelo store), Seattle (Totokaelo store) and Japan.”

Q: Any plans for opening more stores in the U.S. or elsewhere?

A: “We’re always looking for the right opportunity but nothing planned for Need Supply this year. We are opening an 8,000-square-foot residency for Totokaelo at 190 Bowery in New York in October for six months while we renovate the Totokaelo Crosby street store.”

Owner of Silk Trading building plans project

The fate of hundreds of bolts of fabric remaining at the former Silk Trading Co. building at 304 E. Grace St. in downtown Richmond has yet to be decided.

Scott Birch, president of International Roofing, bought the building in June. Birch also owns the building at 302 E. Grace St.

Birch plans to renovate the building into a new retail space and apartments.

Wilson M. Flohr and Clifford B. Porter, both with Porter Realty Co. Inc., are representing Birch in lease arrangements.

Design plans call for two apartments on the top floor, each with two bathrooms, and a restaurant or other type of retail space on the first floor.

Silk Trading, a fabric store, opened in 1936 and closed within the past year. Its owner, Mark Novick, died in November 2014.

Heidi Klum clothes make debut at Lidl

Germany-born supermodel and Project Runway co-host Heidi Klum is lending her fashion sense to Germany-based grocer Lidl.

Last week, the grocery chain debuted the Heidi Klum collection at its U.S. grocery stores. As of last week, the company had opened 34 stores in the U.S. with plans to open a total of 100 by summer 2018.

A store that opened Thursday at 9101 Hermitage Road off Staples Mill Road in Henrico County was the grocer’s fifth store in the Richmond area.

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