Kareem Jackson and Eric Hayes met years ago at the now-defunct Bento Go-Go near The Ohio State University, where both men were students. They bonded over a love of fashion and style, and lamented the lack of quality retail establishments in Columbus.
Times have changed, though, and today the capital city’s shopping scene garners immense praise, even getting write-ups in national publications. In fact, a recent New York Magazine travel guide highlighted several local boutiques, including Milk Bar− the shop Jackson and Hayes opened in December 2007.
Located at 765-A N. High St. in the Short North, Milk Bar offers clothing and accessories for men and women. A.P.C., Barbour, Gant, and Topman are among the labels shoppers can expect to see in the store season after season.
Additionally, Milk Bar is the only Warby Parker showroom in Columbus. However, it’s more than vintage-inspired eyewear that separates the shop from the competition.
Milk Bar’s “super cool and fun” vibe keeps customers coming back for more, said Jackson.
It’s arguable that the owners’ retail savvy also helps.
“We know women are the majority of the market, but we were never able to capture them until now,” Jackson said, explaining that once Milk Bar lowered the price point on its womenswear and introduced Milk Bar Femme, an in-store label that specializes in on-trend pieces that still manage to flatter most body types, sales climbed considerably.
The owners also try to provide a pleasant shopping experience, hiring friendly sales associates who often know customers by name.
In an attempt to turn the tables, Milk Bar is creating a series of short videos highlighting individual staffers and their style.
“We all look completely different and wear our pieces from the store in our own way,” Jackson said.
The videos will be posted at MilkBarBoutique.com on a bi-monthly basis. The first one −posted Oct. 31− is about Jackson.
In 2013, Milk Bar will begin selling its in-store merchandise online.
“Right now, we’re working on building a site that is more functional than our last one, and has a better reach and more marketing behind it,” Jackson said.
Photos by Adam Slane Photography.