by MR Magazine Staff

Need Supply Co., which opened a store in 1996 selling used vintage Levi jeans and later transformed itself and grew into a global retailer, is shutting down its entire business.

MR learned of the closure last week from a now-former employee who said, as of last Wednesday, that all staff had been terminated except for online fulfillment center employees. A request for comment from Need’s representatives has gone unanswered since last Thursday.

The Richmond-based fashion retailer is closing its flagship store at 3100 W. Cary St. as well as its corporate headquarters, and a 60,000-square-foot online fulfillment center in eastern Henrico County, Virginia. The closure also affects Need’s sister retailer, Seattle-based Totokaelo.

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“NSTO, Need Supply Co., and Totokaelo are beginning to wind-down their businesses and cease operations,” said Corey S. Booker, an attorney with the Whiteford|Taylor|Preston law firm in Richmond who is representing the company. No wind-down timeline was specified. As of now, both e-commerce sites are on sale and running as usual.

NSTO Corp. was created last year when Need Supply Co. merged operations with Seattle-based Totokaelo, creating NSTO as a holding company. The merger combined Need Supply’s three stores — its flagship store in Richmond and two licensed stores in Japan — with Totokaelo stores in New York and Seattle.

The merger also gave Totokaelo’s operations access to Need Supply’s robust e-commerce business. NSTO also operated offices in New York for its creative, merchandising, planning, and product development teams.

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The company completely changed the look of its flagship store in Richmond in late 2016 as part of its 20th anniversary, giving it a sleeker look.

That transformation of Need Supply is a far cry from its origins in 1996 when Chris Bossola, the company’s co-founder and CEO, and former business partner Jason Solomon opened a store called Blues Clothing in the Carytown neighborhood of Richmond to sell used vintage Levi jeans. Three years later, they changed the name and the product line was expanded beyond jeans.

In order to expand its product lines, Need Supply had raised $3.9 million in investment capital in 2018 and another $3.8 million in 2017, according to filings with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. Some of the offering was a debt raise, the regulatory filings show.

Bossola and his team at Need Supply won an Uptown/Downtown Award for Retail Innovation from MR in 2013.

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