UpWest Opening First Ohio Store at Easton
Retailer UpWest is opening its first store in the state, and only its fourth across the country, at Easton Town Center next week.
But Columbus is more than just the location of a store, it’s actually where the company was founded. UpWest launched in 2019 as a spinoff of Columbus-based EXPRESS.
As a direct-to-consumer brand going “clicks to bricks,” UpWest launched as a digital-first brand with a website and robust social media presence, then it started adding brick-and-mortar storefronts.
“The decision was really based around consumer sentiments changing,” UpWest SVP Jamie Schisler says of the spinoff.
Not only were shoppers gravitating towards digitally-native brands, but what they wanted to wear was changing. While EXPRESS has historically been more of a fashion-based brand focused on workwear and going out attire, customers were trending more towards comfort, even before the pandemic.
Schisler says although both brands target roughly the same age group of shoppers – early 20s to early 30s – the UpWest customer is someone who is interested in the outdoors, interested in health and wellness; is environmentally conscious and enjoys shopping sustainably.
From its Easton storefront, UpWest will offer men’s and women’s apparel, much of it made from sustainable fabrics, and geared towards the traveler and comfort-seeker. UpWest also offers home goods like candles, blankets and pillows, and will stock a special selection of locally-made products.
One of those locally-made products will be a special UpWest blend of coffee from Roosevelt Coffee Roasters. UpWest will sell the beans in their store and offer drip coffees to-go.
The Roosevelt Coffeehouse and Roosevelt Coffee Roasters will also be UpWest’s charity partner in Columbus. In each of the cities where it operates storefronts, the retailer has chosen a charity partner to donate the proceeds from its opening weekend. (And it will donate $1 for every email sign-up in the Columbus store to Roosevelt.)
When seeking its partnerships, Schisler says they look for like-minded organizations, plus their customer is a coffee drinker. He adds that when connecting with Roosevelt Founder Kenny Sipes, he found the business and the non-profit had a shared vision and a deep passion and care for the community. Past opening weekend, the store will continue to look for ways to support Roosevelt.
With a grand opening scheduled for Saturday, June 19, Schisler says UpWest is looking forward to being part of the post-COVID, physical retail opportunity.
“People are ready to get back out and try things on and be in a store,” he says.
Schisler is also excited to show shoppers what the UpWest brand is all about in-person.
“We are a brand that we believe has a great purpose and story to tell,” he says, and physical locations allow them to showcase that in ways they can’t digitally.
UpWest’s 1,100 square foot storefront at 4074 The Strand W, Space 610, formerly A Pea in the Pod, has another local connection. The space was designed in partnership with Columbus-based Civitas Marketing, which has worked with UpWest on all of its retail stores.
UpWest will open at 10 a.m. on Saturday, June 19 and adhere to normal mall hours.
For more information, visit upwest.com.