Oak Hall, one of the largest independent men’s retailers in North America — and also one the longest running family businesses — today announced a major expansion from its home base in Memphis to a new location in Nashville, Tennessee at Hill Center Green Hills in 2017. The store, which has been run by the Levy family and its ancestors since 1859, is currently run by fifth-generation owners Bill and Bob Levy and Bill’s son Will, from the sixth generation. Expansion is not a new concept for them, as the family also owns and operates Vineyard Vines stores in Hill Center Green Hills, as well as in other locations in Memphis and Birmingham. Here’s what they told MR about this exciting new undertaking.
Q: Why Nashville?
Will Levy: From a real estate perspective, we already have a strong relationship with Nashville and Hill Center Green Hills, since our Vineyard Vines store currently operates there. What’s more, Oak Hall has always had loyal customers from Nashville, just 200 miles down the road.
Bill Levy: With my daughter, four nephews and their families living in Nashville, we are especially excited about expanding our presence in Tennessee to Nashville. Many friends and customers there have been asking for an Oak Hall store for years. Most importantly, we’re not just opening an Oak Hall store; we’re becoming a true part of the community.
Q: With the precarious state of retail, why add another store?
Will: We’re expanding out of success. September and October marked our highest revenue numbers in more than 150 years of Oak Hall history. We look forward to physically showcasing our brand, our world class service and style, and our long-standing values in Nashville.
Q: What accounts for your current increases?
Will: Our exposure in the South has grown dramatically through magazine and catalog distribution, as well as our presence in regional publications such as Garden & Gun. This year’s launch of our online store has significantly broadened our customer base.
Q: What’s the estimated timeline?
Will: We’ll break ground by the end of the year and plan to open a 2,000 square-foot store of men’s and women’s apparel in March. My cousin Chris Levy will manage the Nashville store to continue our family legacy. In late 2017, we’ll expand by an additional 8,000-square feet to showcase our flagship format.
Q: What does this mean to you and your family?
Chris Levy: For me, this has been my dream for the 11 years I’ve been working retail, starting out at Oak Hall Memphis in the stockroom and on the selling floor and, for the past four years, working at Neiman’s in Dallas in buying, budgeting and planning. I can’t wait use what I’ve learned to bring Oak Hall’s great product mix and outstanding customer service to Nashville!
Bob Levy: It’s a very proud moment for our family. With my son Jim running our Memphis Vineyard Vines store and now Chris running the new Oak Hall Nashville, I’m very excited.
Q: The obvious question: how will you compete with Levy’s in Nashville, another highly respected iconic apparel business that’s been serving Nashville customers for 160 years?
Will: I think our focus is a little different from theirs. But more importantly, with Nashville’s projected growth over the next decade of a million more people, I think there’s plenty of opportunity for everyone.