By Randy Arrington
LURAY, May 25 — While their store has certainly made an aesthetic splash on Main Street, the business philosophy and deep sense of community displayed by Jay North and Kevin Boyd may prove to be their ultimate key to success.
On Friday, community leaders gathered at 10 East Main Street to celebrate a ribbon cutting and grand opening celebration for Nest & Hive, the two entrepreneurs’ latest endeavor. The home decor store and specialty boutique also offers floral services. The owners say their unique American-made items offer a “fun experience” for customers.
“With so much online shopping, people still want to get out and touch and feel and smell things,” Boyd said. “Everything we sell has a vintage feel. It’s a fun store.”
“Everything here is something we would put in our home,” North added. “I love that we have things that are handmade. We work with artisans in the Valley.”
The owners say they carefully choose each item for the store and try to keep everything “affordable.” It’s a similar philosophy to the one that launched the Hawksbill Trading Company six years ago.
“We started [HTC] because we didn’t want to see other business owners lose opportunity,” North said.
In 2020, that opportunity thrived as the community came out to support small businesses. Other local entrepreneurs who partnered with Boyd and North at the collective, had their best year yet — in the midst of a pandemic. That support from the community drove Boyd and North to pursue their next passion — opening Nest & Hive, which they did on Nov. 14, 2020.
“People really focused on local business [during the pandemic]. People were stepping up and helping their neighbor,” North said. “We opened a store when stores were closing. It would have not been possible without the support of the community. People really came out and supported us.”
While the store’s attractive storefront has drawn attention, it’s the owners’ seven-days-a-week commitment and longer hours that is starting a trend with Broad Porch Coffee Co. that downtown promoters are hoping catches on.
“Thank you for opening your business here, especially with the year we’ve had,” Gina Hilliard, president of the Luray-Page County Chamber of Commerce, said just prior to Friday’s ribbon cutting. “You’ve created a nice storefront, you’re staying open later and more days…hopefully that idea will spread.”
“Lots of memories in this building,” Mayor Jerry Dofflemyer said on Friday, noting the former location of the local masonic lodge as well as a Ben Franklin department store. The owners purchased the building from the masonic lodge last July.
“We thank Jay and Kevin, they’ve had a vision and a dream,” the mayor continued. “They’ve had great success at the Hawkbill Trading [Company], and now this new shop on Main Street is quickly becoming an anchor for downtown.”
“We’re so glad that you’re here…so many people ask, who owns that store?” said Jackie Elliott, program director for the Luray Downtown Initiative. Elliott also noted the owners’ involvement within the community helping various organizations.
Tuesday’s ribbon cutting and grand opening celebration marked the eighth such event held in Downtown Luray since mid-March. The momentum of downtown development has been recognized and noted by many, as private sector investment begins to merge with public sector incentives. The owners of Nest & Hive plan to take advantage of a $2,000 matching grant from LDI for facade improvements.
Both Boyd and North believe that success will help breed success in the downtown area.
“You’ve got to get feet on the pavement,” Boyd said. “None of us should be in competition with one another; we should be feeding off each other.”
Six years ago, when they were searching for a space for their collective, North remembers walking down Main Street and seeing empty storefronts, businesses closed, no lights on and “no sense of comradery.”
“It’s nice to see other things popping up. We’re seeing the downtown grow, and we’re glad to be a part of that,” North said.
“I’d like to think we’re a little bit of a catalyst for that,” Boyd added.
The owners plan to continue making improvements to the store, and they plan to keep the lights on at night. They plan to stay open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday, and from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays.
“Thanks to everyone who has supported us…and understood what we were trying to do,” Boyd told the group gathered on Main Street.
“Thank you to all our family and friends. This has truly been a labor of love, and we’ve put a lot of blood, sweat and tears into it,” North added. “We couldn’t be here without you.”
“I think great things are in store for us, and for everybody.”
For updates and announcements, check out the Nest & Hive page on Facebook.
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