In December 2017, local entrepreneur Anna Steffen launched The Native One as a pop-up shop on Main Street in the same storefront that now houses Cincy Shirts. Four months later, community demand prompted Steffen’s move to a permanent brick-and-mortar storefront on Vine Street in Over-the-Rhine.
Now, three years and two additional locations (including a warehouse in Dayton, Kentucky, and a storefront in Covington) later, there’s an even bigger move in progress. By the end of September, the fashion and decor boutique will hop across Vine street to fill the recently vacated Kaze restaurant space.
When 3CDC proposed the idea of The Native One’s move in order to space out retailers on Vine Street, Steffen says it was a “no-brainer.”
“In our previous pop-up space, we had so many windows, and that was the biggest loss when we moved,” she says. “So, when we got the opportunity to go back to having more windows and a corner [location], it was exactly what I envisioned for the store.”
This vision includes an abundance of natural light, a variety of textures, a pop of terra-cotta tones and other precise details to simulate the feeling of being near a beach, all of which will be reflected in the new storefront. The inventory itself, which Steffen describes as “a very neutral base with a pop of color here and there” will mirror the interior’s aesthetic.
The new storefront also allows Steffen to diversify the way she displays merchandise. Steffen says she’s excited to make use of the high ceilings and expansive walls and design her displays upward with tall fixtures, rather than being limited to using only floorspace.
“A lot of my inspiration comes when I’m traveling,” Steffen says. “I love the West Coast, so I’ve taken a little [design inspiration] from places I’ve stayed in, like hotels and Airbnbs, and I try to pull that into the shop.”
For the past three years, these meticulous details have warmly welcomed Cincinnatians through The Native One’s doors for a personable shopping experience. Steffen says she hopes this continues at the new location. She strives to make her store feel like a “safe and comfortable” atmosphere for every customer, a sentiment that has been crucial in The Native One’s response to the current COVID-19 pandemic.
In addition to comprehensive communication and wellness checks among the staff, employees at The Native One have made a conscious effort to ensure the cleanliness of the store so that customers can feel comfortable in their shopping experience. Masks and social distancing are required within the store and any item of clothing that has been tried on is steamed for sanitation purposes prior to being placed back on the floor. Still, for customers who are not yet comfortable shopping in-person, Steffen says The Native One’s website is updated regularly to reflect the complete in-store inventory.
Although the re-opening date of The Native One’s new location has not yet been finalized, Steffen anticipates hosting an opening week celebration by the end of September. During this week, up to eight people per hour may schedule an appointment to enjoy light refreshments inside the new storefront.