Nancy's celebrates 19 stylish years
Cereality on King Street closes; Julia Santen Gallery relocates
October is known as a time for dressing up, with Halloween and all.
So it's fitting that downtown women's clothing store Nancy's will celebrate its 19th year in business this month.
"I consider clothing a costume," said Nancy Lerner, an apparel industry veteran who owns the shop and the two-story building at 342 King St.
The store specializes in "unique, timeless" women's fashion, she said.
"I don't buy trend," she added. "I buy what I like."
Retailing is in Lerner's blood. Her late father and two uncles launched a clothing business in the 1940s called The Paris Shops that eventually grew to seven stores in New York and Connecticut.
Lerner worked in the family business and attended fashion school, later working as a dress buyer and designer before moving to Charleston and opening her own store.
"The apple doesn't fall far from the tree," she said. "This is what makes me happy."
The entrepreneur said she feels fortunate that her business has survived in the popular King Street shopping corridor, where many small shops have closed or moved away because of rising rents. Local businesses are what give the street its charm, Lerner said.
Her Web site is www.nancysofcharleston.com.
After a short but sweet stay on upper King Street, Cereality has closed.
The quirky casual dining spot — situated just north of the Francis Marion Hotel at 401-B King — offered more than 30 cereal brands and 40 toppings in a "home kitchen" atmosphere.
But local franchisee Tom Guidera said the place wasn't drawing enough customers to stay afloat. While it attracted a decent breakfast crowd, business was slow the rest of the day, he said.
The idea "was a great concept on paper," he said. "At that location, it just didn't work out."
Founded in 2003, the Cereality company recently was acquired by Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Kahala-Cold Stone, which owns a host of quick-service food franchises, including Cold Stone Creamery ice cream shops, Blimpie sub shops and Great Steak & Potato Co.
Shortly after the acquisition, Kahala closed two Cereality locations in Chicago and Evanston, Ill.
In a July interview with trade magazine Restaurants & Institutions, Kahala Chief Executive Doug Ducey said the company had faith in the brand and planned to add more stores in the future. One option is to "co-locate" Cereality stores next to some of its other store brands, Ducey said.
The Julia Santen Gallery, a vintage poster business in downtown Charleston, recently moved to a new, roomier King Street location and is preparing to reopen on Wednesday. The new address is 188 King St., about a block from the former second-floor shop at 216-B King. The business is now at street level. The company specializes in original poster art dating from 1890 to the 1960s.
Owner Julia Santen said the store will participate in the French Quarter Art Walk on Friday, with a grand opening party planned for mid- to late October. The Web site is www.juliasantengallery.com.
Just in time for cooler weather, a new dining spot specializing in homemade soup is set to open in the Bi-Lo shopping center at the corner of S.C. Highway 61 and Bees Ferry Road in West Ashley.
The business, aptly called Ladles, is expected to open in mid-October at 3125 Bees Ferry in space that formerly housed a cellular phone store.
With a lineup of more than 60 soups, Ladles will offer 10 daily "staple" varieties such as chicken noodle and broccoli cheese, as well as two or three rotating specials including soups, sandwiches and salads.
The restaurant will have seating for more than 24 people at tables or in two "living room" areas with sofas. Wi-Fi will be available.
Hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. for dine-in or take-out. Customers also can order 32-ounce pots of soup for pickup the following day.
The co-owners are husband and wife Tracy and Suzie Allen, and the chef is Jason Dalter, whose 16-year culinary career includes stints with Mount Pleasant restaurants J. Bistro and Dog and Duck.
Suzie Allen said the couple plans to open two more Charleston-area locations in the next two years, and hopes to franchise the concept in the future. The Web site is www.ladlessoups.com.