Local retailer: ‘Death of retail has been greatly exaggerated’

Local retail business owner Todd Bettman says the death of retail has been greatly exaggerated.

Bettman, who is founder and CEO of Shops by Todd Inc., owns and operates 19 shops in two states and the business continues to grow. He said his stores like Jake’s Toggery, Pandora and Occasionally Yours continue to bring in strong sales each year — in part due to the niche products sold and unique customer service provided by the brands.

Headquartered in downtown Dayton, Shops by Todd has more than 350 employees and brought in around $26 million in sales last year. His stores haven’t been hit by the stark competition from online shopping, and customers will always place value in the consumer experience only found at physical shops, he said.

“We don’t see it affecting our brick-and-mortar stores to a large degree,” he said. “(The Internet) might dominate in commodity goods and electronics, but we have specialty retailers.”

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Locally, two of the retailers owned by Shops by Todd are undergoing major renovations at The Greene Town Center in Beavercreek. Jake’s Toggery will move to a new location at The Greene, replacing its existing location in Phase II of the mall near Von Maur.

The remodeled Occasionally Yours location just re-opened.

The new Jake’s Toggery store will be located between the Apple Store and Bath & Body Works. The store will be Jake’s latest store design, replacing what had been an existing retrofitted storefront of its previous “Life is Good” brand.

Jake Toggery sells preppy clothing items for women and men, including brands like Vineyard Vines and Southern Marsh. The new Jake’s Toggery location will open for business in mid-November. The original storefront near Von Maur will continue to be open for business until that time.

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Launched in 2015, Jake’s Toggery has locations at The Greene, the Liberty Center in Liberty Twp. and Polaris Fashion Place in Columbus. The retailer is launching its e-commerce site during the holiday season, and will also launch its own clothing brand in mid-2018.

Bettman was inspired by his time spent in the South — his college days at the University of Georgia, vacations spent at the beach and his son’s experiences at the University of Tennessee. He wanted to bring that Southern culture to the Midwest through the clothing sold at Jake’s.

“You have to enjoy and appreciate that culture - one of friendliness and adventure and activity. Some of it is beach life, lake life, university Greek life,” he said. “We’re learning as we go, what brands costumers are looking for.”


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