New Short North Shop Combines Interior Design and Underwear
What do men’s underwear and interior design have in common? They are the passions of two Columbus residents and business partners, Rob Lyons and Bret Baden.
The pair combined their interests to create Manhood, which opened recently at 1127 N. High St. in the Short North.
The pair acquired the storefront — which used to house local Uber offices — in mid-February and spent five months renovating it themselves. Baden and Lyons said feedback has been positive since the store’s soft opening during July’s gallery hop.
The business partners hope to not only appeal to other gays with their store concept, but to all types of men.
“We knew the gays would come, they’ll come from miles away,” Baden said. “I think it’s more for those metro men, that they can walk in and feel manly, and leave and feel manly. That’s what our concept was based around.”
Lyons hopes the store’s design will help to make customers feel comfortable.
“It will be uncomfortable for some men, It just will be. But I think with the design and the way the store is set up, hopefully it will be more comfortable for them to purchase something that they normally wouldn’t wear,” he said.
Pairs of underwear range from around $15 for the Manhood line to around $50.The majority of the stock is made up of briefs and boxer briefs, with some “lingerie-style” underwear.
Lyons said he saw no reason to compete directly with local underwear spot Torso, just down the street at 772 N. High St., so he made a point to seek out different brands. Manhood has exclusive rights to Addicted, Underwear for Men (UFM) and Charlie by Matthew Zink, being the only place in Ohio that carries those brands.
While Lyons chooses the underwear to stock, Baden is in charge of the interior design elements of the store, which he said aren’t only for men. Manhood offers modern-style home interior items such as clocks, candle stick holders, and other knick knacks for display. One can get a small gift for $10-15, up to more high-end furniture worth hundreds.
Baden has had his own interior design firm, now located in Grandview, for seven years. Lyons, a hairstylist by trade, works about one day a week at Jekyll and Hyde in Clintonville.
The pair had both lived in Columbus around 15 years back before they met three years ago in Dayton, and were itching to get back to the city. They moved back to Columbus nine months later, and had been talking about starting the business since.
The idea for the name came when Baden was designing a wedding. When he couldn’t find his drill he panicked and contacted friends multiple times to try to locate it.
“Finally, I said, ‘Does anyone know where my drill went? I feel like I’ve lost my manhood,’” he said.
Before the official grand opening during gallery hop on August 6, Lyons and Baden are adding finishing touches such as live plants, and still have items in storage to put out. They are also in the process of making it so that a portion of proceeds benefits testicular cancer or other charitable causes.
Regardless of the contents of the store, the owners hope to create a welcoming atmosphere first and foremost.
“I think the most important thing is the atmosphere when you walk in, you’re always going to get a smiling face, some advice,” Baden said.
For more information, visit www.manhoodmarket.com.
All photos by Hannah Herner.