College apparel store expands
VIENNA — A couple of area small business owners are expanding their sports apparel business into a new space on Grand Central Avenue.
Dan and Brandy Bond, who own Bond’s Pharmacy at the Mid-Ohio Valley Medical Group, have expanded their Bond’s Tailgaters business into the former Workingman’s Store location at 1201 Grand Central Ave. in Vienna.
For a few years, the Bonds operated a small store next to the pharmacy that sold West Virginia University, Marshall University and other collegiate apparel. The pharmacy itself has a number of collegiate gift items in stock.
The Bonds were interested in finding a larger space to sell apparel. The 1,000-square-foot location they have next to the pharmacy could not accommodate a lot of shoppers and it got hectic when WVU had special games/events and a lot of people would be coming in at once.
“We had noticed that the Workingman’s Store had put up a liquidation sign,” Dan Bond said. “We began to inquire if they indeed were liquidating and going out of business at that location and what was going on.”
Through their realtor, Lori Taylor of Elite Real Estate Group, they found out the owners of the Workingman’s Store, David and Karen Schramm, were looking to close and sell the location.
“We got to work in late September,” Dan Bond said. “We worked hard with our bank, WesBanco, and the (Schramms) to get it to a closing date of Oct. 21.
“It was a quick turnaround.”
They wanted to get set up quickly and be open in time for the holiday season and to let people know they were there. The location opened Saturday, Dec. 3.
“We moved 95 percent of our apparel to that location,” Dan Bond said. “We thought that location would serve the apparel needs a lot better.
“We could get our clothes and hats spread out more so people can have a much better shopping experience and they would be able to see all of the different styles.”
The new location has around 4,000 square feet.
“It is more accessible for people who were unable to easily get in the old space because it was crowded,” Brandy Bond said. “Now we have been able to spread out and you are able to see the merchandise and see the different styles.”
The new store allows people to be able to look at the items they have available as well as their patterns and designs, she said.
That was something that was difficult to do in the smaller store.
“We are able to spread out a lot of the merchandise we had gotten this year,” Dan Bond said. “It is displayed in a way people can actually see it. There are things they will see that we didn’t even know we had, because you couldn’t display it properly.”
People will be surprised with what they will see.
“It will be like a whole new store for everybody,” Dan Bond said.
Many of the gift items they carry will remain at the pharmacy. They will also keep a number of items and apparel at the original Bond’s Tailgating location next to the pharmacy.
The Bonds said the Schramms, their bank and the realtors all worked well to make it happen.
“The whole point of this project was to keep another small business along the main drag of Grand Central Avenue,” Dan Bond said. “The Schramms had owned the property for approximately 16 years.
“Their goal was to have another store that was community-based come in there. It is our dream and our vision that we can keep that going into the future.”
All of the small businesses along Grand Central Avenue help create a sense of community, much like many of the small businesses in downtown Marietta.
“I think it makes Vienna and the area so much better,” Dan Bond said. “I think a lot of people are bringing that to Vienna and getting it right there along the main drag and close to the mall where everyone is centered.
“Hopefully, we will see more of that.”
One of the goals for the new location is to be able to offer more apparel geared toward the area’s high schools teams, Brandy Bond said.
“Now that we have a lot more space we can bring in more merchandise for some of our local teams, particularly our high schools,” she said of Parkersburg, Parkersburg South, Williamstown, Belpre and others.
Many alumni are always looking for apparel for the local high schools for sporting events.
“We see a need for it for alumni,” Dan Bond said. “We have proud alumni from all of the different schools.
“We want to help generate some school spirit in the area for the adults and the kids who would like to pick up a hat or a T-shirt.”
The couple have been involved with fundraising efforts for the PHS Foundation.
“It is about taking care of students and making sure the teachers have what they need,” Dan Bond said. “There are things that are getting cut out of school budgets. The community has to step up to make sure our kids are taken care of.”
Small businesses are in a unique position to be able to help the community in that way, the Bonds said.
“It just isn’t a business, it is people giving back to the community,” Brandy Bond said. “We employ community workers and we give back to the community.”
The new location is open through the Christmas season everyday. They will be open 9 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and noon to 6 p.m. on Sunday.
“We will do that through December and a little into January,” Dan Bond said. “Then we will settle in for what we think will be the best hours.
“We wanted to make sure we have plenty of hours for people who work to be able to get in.”
The new location has been well received by the community with people commenting on the available space of the store and having a fitting room to try things on.
The Bonds believe it was the grace of God who allowed everything to come together for them to open this new location and they are ready to follow through on what they need to do.
“God allowed all of this to happen for a reason,” Dan Bond said. “We don’t know what that reason is yet, but he allowed it to all come together.
“Now we need to sit back and let him lead us to what we need to do.”