Southern Threads “How We Got Here”

 

Bowling Green Daily News Business Reporter Monica Spees filed this report on our new business on Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Photography by Miranda Pederson/Daily News

Two brothers have combined their talents with their cousin’s to start a business.

Zach and Sawyer Williams, 22 and 17, respectively, and Staci Galentine opened Southern Threads Company in Thoroughbred Square about two weeks ago. With a tagline “classic Southern style,” Southern Threads carries clothing – anything from blue jeans to bow ties – for “young men and women 7 to 75,” as it says on the store’s postcards stacked on the checkout counter.

The idea for the store came about four years ago when Zach mentioned to his family over dinner he would like to own his own clothing store and clothing line. Zach wanted to focus on the clothes he and his family noticed in stores while on vacation in places such as Gulf Shores, Ala., or even in Nashville, and bring the concept to Bowling Green.

“We were always shopping on vacation instead of shopping here,” Zach said.

Luke Williams, Zach’s and Sawyer’s father, said the family supported the idea, but it was put aside because Zach was getting started in real estate at the time. Luke said Sawyer especially took an interest in Zach’s idea.

In May, Sawyer brought up the store idea again.

“Sawyer comes up and says, ‘When are you all going to do this store?’ ” Luke said.

In June, Luke ran into Galentine, his wife’s cousin, at a family reunion. Galentine had worked for Chico’s and Gap and was regional manager for Soma, a lingerie company. Luke knew Galentine could be an asset to his sons if they truly wanted to open a store.

“I told them, ‘If you can get her to come work for you, then I’ll help you with the store,’ ” Luke said.

Zach said he planned to manage the business side of the store operations and Sawyer would provide more creativity, but he was happy for Galentine to come along and share expertise they needed.

“Sawyer and I knew what we wanted to have, but we didn’t know how to have it,” Zach said.

“The shirts wouldn’t be folded right,” Sawyer added.

Zach said he and Sawyer knew if they didn’t take advantage of the opportunity to bring specific brands and clothes to Bowling Green, then someone else would.

“The learning experience is different than other businesses I’ve been involved in,” Zach said. “The biggest thing I like is looking at other brands.”

Southern Threads carries Brewer’s Lantern, Mobile Bay, Water’s Bluff, Southern Marsh – Sawyer’s favorite – and other brands. Zach said other brands give him an idea of what kind of line he would like to develop. The store serves as “good beta testing” for the brand Zach will eventually debut, he said.

“I knew I wanted to make my mark in some way. A brand creation is really how I could broaden my horizons,” Zach said.

The store offers a clean, faux rustic setting, with pants and shirts folded amid old leather suitcases and scuffed wooden boxes. Zach said Southern Threads is “Southern service, Southern clothes.”

“What you go to on Sunday,” Zach said.

“We’re not open on Sunday,” Sawyer corrected.

“You know what I mean,” Zach said. “What you might wear on Sunday.”

Sawyer said he didn’t expect to be a business owner as young as he is.

“I always knew that I wanted to own a business, kind of do my own thing with it, but never at 17,” Sawyer said. “Before we even opened, I was thinking, ‘When are we going to expand, and when are we going to start our own brand?’

While the Williamses were on vacation last week, Sawyer said he constantly made notes on his phone while sitting on the beach when he got a new idea for the store.

Zach said he and his family pride Southern Threads on being “a service company that sells clothes” and puts the customer first, something he learned from his family and from his business and real estate background.

“Even if you’re not going to get the client, send the client the right way” for what he or she wants, Zach said.

Luke said the store made 40 sales in its first two hours of being open, and business has been booming since. Someone who is in London saw Southern Threads online and asked her mother to send her some clothes, Luke said.

“I’m amazed by how many people come in and say, ‘This is exactly what we’ve been looking for,’ “ Luke said.

Kathy and Tony Mello, both of Edmonson County, came to Southern Threads on Monday to return a pair of pants Kathy bought for Tony a few days ago and to look at more clothes. Kathy was in Bowling Green with her cousin last week and happened to see Southern Threads.

“I’m always looking for a new shop,” Kathy said. “I was so excited to find it because I love little shops like this.”

Kathy bought sweaters and pants for Tony, along with a key necklace for her grandson and some Koozies that look like whiskey barrels.

“I just really enjoy the atmosphere here,” Kathy said.

Tony said the quality of the clothes is what impressed him the most.

“Quality like we’ve never seen in Bowling Green yet,” Tony said.

Kathy said she loves shopping at local places and enjoys going to Southern Threads, where the Williamses are friendly and helpful.

“It’s a wonderful place to come,” Kathy said.

Southern Threads is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday.

— Follow business beat reporter Monica Spees on Twitter at twitter.com/BGDNbusiness or visitbgdailynews.com.

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