NEW YORK — Ian and Shep Murray are bringing Martha’s Vineyard to Memphis. The duo behind the highly popular Vineyard Vines sportswear label has partnered with the Levy family, owners of Memphis’s renowned specialty retailer Oak Hall, to open a new 6,000-square-foot Vineyard Vines by Oak Hall store in January—the first of its kind South of the Mason-Dixon line.
“Oak Hall is a great store and the Levy family has been doing an exceptional business with us for many years,” said Vineyard Vines CEO and cofounder Ian Murray. “They are doing so well with our product and our line has gotten so extensive that it’s really hard to give it the space and attention it needs without having its own store.”
Oak Hall owner and president Bill Levy, who initially approached the pair and invited them down to Memphis to discuss partnering up last spring, agreed. “For the last three years Vineyard Vines has been the fasting-growing line in our store,” said Levy, who carried Vineyard Vines at his store when it was a small neckwear line and far from the full-blown accessories and furnishings line it is today.
Vineyard Vines’ growth has been exponential. The company, which was founded on a small line of colorful, offbeat ties back in 1998, has expanded into a $60 million venture that now includes a full range of sportswear for men, women and children. Its popularity transcends generations, and its universal appeal shows no signs of slowing down.
The Vineyard Vines by Oak Hall store will most likely add fuel to the growing brand’s fire. Located in the Regalia Center in East Memphis, the new store will showcase the complete Vineyard Vines collection—including men’s, women’s and children’s—and will operate as a 50-50 partnership. The Levy family will use their retail expertise to oversee operations, while Shep and Ian will assume responsibility for the creative aspect of the boutique, including the look, feel and branding of the space. The Levys will hire all staff, although Vineyard Vines by Oak Hall employees will travel to the company’s Stamford, Conn., headquarters for training.
The retail collaboration marks the third of its kind for the Connecticut natives, who opened a Greenwich flagship store with the Mitchell family—owners of the luxury stores Mitchells, Marshs and Richards—last year, and it will not be the last.
“We are planning to open more stores in other parts of the country, but at a comfortable pace,” said Ian.
The pair also maintains partnerships with Massachusetts specialty shops Murray’s Toggery and Puritan Clothing Co. to operate freestanding stores in Nantucket and Cape Cod, respectively. And the formula has been highly successful. “We like working with partners, and it’s incredible for us that these old-school family businesses gravitate toward our brand,” said Ian. Although declining to divulge any geographic locations or possible partners, Murray did confirm that Vineyard Vines is currently in discussions for future retail projects.
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