Monday, June 5, 2017

Empire South Ventures South for New Location

New retailer coming to Virginia-Highland

North Georgia based Empire South Clothier plans to open a new location in Virginia-Highland later this year.  The new shop will open in place of Half Moon Outfitters, which closed this past February.  

Owners Derek and Kari Beth Chitwood opened the first Empire South (then called The Peach State Pride Store) in Watkinsville in May 2013.  Successful in Watkinsville, the couple added locations in Lavonia (2014) and Athens (2015).  The Lavonia location trades under the name V.F. Chitwood's Clothier (named for Derek's grandpa, Virlyn ‘V.F.’ Chitwood) but is basically otherwise the same as the other stores.

Empire South carries clothing, gifts and accessories for men, women, and kids from brands such as Peter Millar, Southern Marsh, Patagonia, Stanley, Lilly Pulitzer, Kate Spade NY and Orvis.  The store also carries a variety of southern collegiate merchandise.

In a phone conversation earlier today, Kari Beth Chitwood said "we want this to be a community store."  She said she and her husband plan to "tailor the Virginia-Highland store to what those in the Virginia-Highland community want." Kari Beth added that they chose to open their first metro Atlanta store in Virginia-Highland due to its "community feel that exemplifies our brand."  

The new Virginia-Highland location is about 4,200 square feet, on par with their other three stores.  

In addition to their growing retail presence, the Chitwoods also own and distribute their own label, Peach State Pride.  Peach State Pride, as its name suggests, is a brand built on Georgia symbols and history.  According to its website, the brand is carried in over 100 retail outlets including Mountain High Outfitters at Ponce City Market and West Paces Ferry, Kinnucan's in Alpharetta, Atlantic Station & Peachtree Corners and RAK Outfitters in Kennesaw and Woodstock, among others.  Peach State Pride is also carried in each of the Chitwoods' stores.  

Kari Beth indicates that the Virginia-Highland Empire South store should open early this fall.  

Are you excited for the return of local retail to Virginia-Highland?  Have you ever been to a Empire South store before?  Much has been said about the death of retail. If you still buy locally, what is your favorite shop and why?

Please share your thoughts below.   

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

I know branding is important but if you have ever been to an Orvis Store the mark up on their merchandise for what is very similarly available eslewhere is eyebrow raising.

Blarb said...

The name of the store is off-putting to me. Atlanta is not a southern outpost of New York, nor a southern New York. We have our own unique identity. We are the City in a Forest. The city Too Busy To Hate. The phoenix rising from the ashes. North of the South, and south of the North. Atlanta has a special mojo all its own. "Empire South" is condescending and insulting.

Anonymous said...

@Blarb - Just because Atlanta calls itself something, doesn't make it so. The City Too Busy To Hate? Please. Have you watched the news?

Anonymous said...

I am super excited for this store, sounds like it will have clothing for the whole family and will be a great fit for the neighborhood. I think Empire South is an awesome name, Atlanta is the Empire of the South. Can't wait to shop at and support this new neighborhood store!

Anonymous said...


Empire state south has been used for a while to describe Georgia in a positive light.

http://www.answers.com/Q/Why_is_Georgia_called_the_empire_state_of_south

Coolio said...

I agree with Blarb... but I also agree with Anon @ 9:19... we make time for some hate, that moniker is long expired.

Anonymous said...

I'm thinking there is a restaurant with the same name..right??

Anonymous said...

"Empire State of the South" is an existing nickname for Georgia; they didn't make it up (like the restaurant, Empire State South)

Anonymous said...

... Blarb is not too busty to hate

Anonymous said...

Thank god fore spell cheque ! ?

Anonymous said...

@anon 11:49 - correct! And apparently it is the name of a commercial real estate company here too.

Jim said...

Google will only direct you to Empire State South, the restaurant here in Atlanta, if you want to research Empire South. Yay for Hugh.