Grant Blvd set to open first storefront this month
By Gabrielle Houck
When you walk into Grant Blvd’s new storefront in West Philadelphia, owner Kimberly McGlonn wants you to feel like you’re at home.
She says the sustainable clothing company’s new retail space is essentially a manifestation of the brand’s identity — a re-imagined garage space that will make shoppers feel like they just stepped into a friend’s living room.
“For a brand that’s so committed to reimagining vintage things, I think it aligns really nicely with who we are,” McGlonn says.
Grant Blvd, founded in 2018 by McGlonn, is a clothing brand designed to battle injustice and fast fashion. It’s named after the street she grew up on in Milwaukee where she was inspired to create a new way to respond to poverty and marginalization.
When McGlonn founded her company, she strived to create a safe space, using fashion to create job opportunities for men and women, who have struggled with unemployment due to former incarceration.
Now, McGlonn is opening a safe space to the public with a new retail location. She and her seven-person team have outgrown their quaint studio in Queens Memorial, and they will be opening up a store on Lancaster Avenue in University City in July.
“It’s a set of new learning opportunities that will allow us to ground who we are as a brand and it’s also allowing us to create the kind of community that means so much to us,” McGlonn says.
“West Philly is ripe for the kinds of people that have already shown a lot of support for what we stand for as a brand”
“They’re generally more socially progressive, and I really wanted to be in a place that was close to a younger energy. West Philly is ripe for the kinds of people that have already shown a lot of support for what we stand for as a brand,” McGlonn says.
As small businesses in Philadelphia face the pressures of the COVID-19 pandemic, McGlonn only wants to keep moving forward. That is why while the weather is nice, the store will have an open-air feel and customers can reserve their own personal shopping experiences with a group of friends to help adhere to social distancing guidelines.
“We signed our lease in January, so for us, it was a matter of making the decision to quit or to fight to stay alive,” McGlonn says.
McGlonn has been working closely with Sone Ehabe, the owner and founder of Four Walls Interior Design to bring her vision of warmth and refuge to life. Ehabe says that from their very first phone call, the pair just sort of clicked.
“When I can work with someone who has such a clear vision and is so excited about their space, it makes me really excited about the space and I think together that helps us create a better environment,” Ehabe says.
Because of the pandemic, the duo had to adjust some of their design plans. A portion of the space was originally going to be an art gallery full of pieces from up-and-coming artists; now it will be a workroom, so that people can see behind the scenes of Grant Blvd.
“We’re not only creating a space that says ‘Welcome to Grant Blvd,’ we’re also welcoming people behind the scenes, and telling the story of the clothes and the influence behind them,” Ehabe says.
While McGlonn wants people to feel at home in her new space, she wants her customers to know that there is a deeper meaning to her concept.
“Grant Blvd is not only about where I grew up — it’s about the places we’ve all lived in and loved, it’s about living at intersections, and it’s about solving problems with mindfulness,” McGlonn says.