Need Supply Co., which opened a store in 1996 in Carytown selling used vintage Levi jeans and later transformed itself and grew into a global retailer, is shutting down its entire business.
The Richmond-based fashion retailer is closing its flagship store at 3100 W. Cary St. as well as its corporate headquarters in Scott’s Addition and a 60,000-square-foot online fulfillment center in eastern Henrico County.
“NSTO, Need Supply Co. and Totokaelo are beginning to wind-down their businesses and cease operations,” said Corey S. Booker, an attorney with the Whiteford|Taylor|Preston law firm in Richmond who is representing the company.
She declined to comment about why the businesses are closing. She also couldn’t talk about what the timing would be for the wind down or if there would be a going-out-of-business sale.
The flagship store, she said, is currently closed.
Christopher Bossola, the company’s co-founder and CEO, could not be reached for comment.
NSTO Corp. was created last year when Need Supply Co. merged operations with Seattle-based Totokaelo, creating NSTO as a holding company. The merger combined Need Supply’s three stores — its flagship store in Carytown and two licensed stores in Japan — with Totokaelo stores in New York and Seattle.
The merger also gave Totokaelo’s operations access to Need Supply’s robust e-commerce business. NSTO also operated offices in New York for its creative, merchandising, planning and product development teams.
“We intend to be the largest and most influential fashion platform in the U.S.,” Bossola said in a statement in April 2019 when the merger was announced. “These brands have been leading the intersection of luxury fashion and premium streetwear for more than two decades.”
Need Supply sold trendy men’s and women’s clothing, shoes, handbags, home goods and accessories from high-end design houses that appealed to the store’s target customers — the 25- to 35-year-olds who are mostly urban dwellers wanting a fashion adventure. The company had cultivated an international customer base attracted to its curated mix of expensive designer fashions alongside more affordable brands.
The company completely changed the look of its flagship store in Carytown in late 2016, giving it a sleeker look.
That transformation of Need Supply is a far cry from its origins in 1996 when Bossola and former business partner Jason Solomon opened a store called Blues Clothing in Carytown to sell used vintage Levi jeans. Three years later, they changed the name and the product line was expanded beyond jeans.
“From the very beginning, I think we have been a destination for people to discover things,” Bossola said in an article in the Richmond Times-Dispatch in 2017.
Bossola had talked about opening Need Supply stores in other U.S. markets, but put those plans on hold. Part of it was because of the company’s robust internet offerings which generated much of the company’s sales.
In order to expand its product lines, Need Supply had raised $3.9 million in investment capital in 2018 and another $3.8 million in 2017, according to filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Some of the offering was a debt raise, the regulatory filings show.
Need Supply’s Carytown store had closed temporarily in March because of the coronavirus and reopened in May. But the store and two other merchants in Carytown were broken into late on May 30 or early on May 31.
The closing of Need Supply was first reported by Richmond BizSense on Tuesday.