INSIDE SCOOP: TABOR BRINGS DYNAMIC SHOPPING EXPERIENCE TO CHARLOTTE
Last month, the menswear community was abuzz when word got around that a new finely curated men’s shop opened in Charlotte, North Carolina. As it turns out, the owners of Capitol, the women’s specialty store also located in Charlotte, had opened a 3,000-square-foot brother store, Tabor. Owners Laura Vinroot Poole and her husband, Perry, have been thinking about a men’s store ever since they opened Capitol 18 years ago. We recently caught up with Laura to get to know more about what finally led them to open Tabor, their competition in Charlotte and their most memorable customer thus far!
Q: What sort of niche are you out to fill with Tabor?
A: We started to field a lot of requests from client’s husbands to create something like Tabor – a place that brings a fresh perspective and something different than what has been traditionally offered in Charlotte. The city has changed a lot recently. It’s no longer strictly a banking city, and men’s tastes have evolved from the typical southern polo-and-khaki uniform. Men are more experimental with their wardrobes and we wanted to create a store that pushed boundaries and offered men a way to be more creative. We ended up partnering with our friend Chandra Johnson (owner of the adjoining SOCO Gallery) who also shared our vision of importing new ideas to the South. The combined men’s store, gallery, and café create this dynamic shopping environment that is all about discovery. It’s totally unique to the city.
Q: What does your merchandise mix look like?
A: Tabor offers a modern twist on timeless styles with a focus on American sportswear. Whether it’s an American brand or American-inspired, from classics like Alexander Olch ties, heritage jeans from Levi’s Icon Collection and Jack Purcell signature sneakers to Daiki Suzuki’s Engineered Garments, T-shirts from Merz b. Schwanen and more progressive pieces from Dries Van Noten and Thom Browne.
Q: What have you learned from running Capitol that you can translate into running the men’s store?
A: The importance of high-touch personal service, hands down. In a world where you can buy anything, anywhere, at any time, service is the thing that changes your relationship with your clients and differentiates you. We go above and beyond with concierge-like services to meet our customer’s individual needs, from organizing in-house alternations and dry cleaning to wardrobe assessments. We’ve loved bringing that ideal to the men’s business and the men have been totally blown away.
Q: With competition in Charlotte like Bruce Julian and Paul Simon, where do you position yourself in the scheme of things?
A: We look at our business on a global scale that is not limited to the local environment. We are completely focused on what’s happening inside the walls of Tabor and the point-of-view we are bringing to the South. When you are pushing something out into the world that you are completely committed to and proud of, the urge to examine positioning and competition melts away.
Q: What types of marketing techniques are you using to promote the store?
A: We just celebrated the store’s official opening a few weeks ago and invited customers, a handful of our menswear designers and friends in the publishing world to come down for a pig pickin’, NASCAR race and to experience the store for themselves. Justin Townes Earle stopped by to play a set from his new album and we held a book signing with photographer Matthew Porter. It’s just the first of a series of events and trunk shows.
In lieu of an e-commerce site, we’ve added the store to our mobile shopping app House Account’s platform so that its 50K+ members and anyone outside of Charlotte can shop the store’s merchandise which is uploaded on a daily basis.
Q: How involved in social media are you?
A: We are most active on Instagram because it’s where we find the highest engagement with our customers. It’s where we share the store’s news, new product and is the easiest way for us to communicate the Tabor lifestyle. Our customers respond to beautiful visuals, and I have to admit our account never looked as good as it did when Justin Livingston of Scout Sixteen took it over a few weeks ago.
Q: What are you most excited about with this new store?
A: It has been fascinating for me to learn about the menswear market and I’ve been pleasantly surprised by the risks that Charlotte men have been willing to take with their personal style.
Q: Who has been your most memorable customer so far?
A: Perry and I have been big fans of Michael Williams of A Continuous Lean since the beginning. We really trust his opinions and taste level, so it was exciting to have him shop at Tabor over the opening weekend.
Q: What’s next for Tabor?
A: We plan to continue to bring a diverse set of designers and tastemakers to Charlotte in the same vein as our grand opening weekend. I’m excited to expose men in Charlotte to new ideas and concepts and contribute to the evolution of their style.