By Johnny Hugel
As the city grows and revitalizes, few areas are seeing the transformation that Scott’s Addition realized in the past year. Outposts like Lamplighter, Ardent, and Lunch may have been the pioneers, but now weekly announcements of offce relocations, loft conversions, high-end restaurants, and a never-ending list of breweries continue to rapidly transform the neighborhood.
One corner, nearly unrecognizable from its previous home of the foreboding Symbol Mattress Factory and shipping lot, now houses a modern building that epitomizes the new identity for the neighborhood. The stately Brenner Pass restaurant and its coffee shop kin, Chairlift, anchor the ground foor alongside their retail partner Jackson & James, while offces for Dominion Payroll and apartments have sprung up around them.
Filling the retail void, one pair is working to set themselves further apart from the traditional Richmond scene. Started in 2017 by siblings Mike and Rachel Anderson, Jackson & James is a men’s boutique, specializing in both local goods and national brands.
“Most of the brands that we carry aren’t available here in Richmond,” explains Mike Anderson. “There’s a little bit of overlap with a store here or a brand here or there. But our goal is to have it largely be brands you can’t get in Richmond.”
To set Jackson & James apart, the brother and sister duo have worked to make sure all of their merchandise has a story to tell. Not only will this provide a deeper meaning for the duo, but the clothing that their customers wear will also help to support the story. This is very similar to how places like Imprint work, as customers are able to brand the clothing to tell a story. This could become very popular amongst the customers of Jackson & James. “We’d like to be able to tell a story around pretty much everything that we have,” says Mike Anderson.He points to one his favorites, Raleigh Denim, a North Carolina-based denim purveyor. Centered in the storied history of the North Carolina textile trade, and utilizing the world-renowned Cone Denim fabric, Raleigh Denim built their brand around a handcrafted, quality experience, before “Made in America” was a buzzword.
The Andersons appreciated the Raleigh Denim story so much that they brought founders, Sarah Yarborough and Victor Lytvinenko, for a trunk show last fall. Prior to their pop-up, the entire Jackson & James staff traveled to Raleigh for the day to work in the Raleigh Denim Workshop to make their own pairs of jeans and better understand the product and craft that went into them.
Adding to the story of Jackson & James, and the merchandise they sell, is the Scott’s Addition neighborhood they selected to grow their business. One of the most defning aspects of Scott’s Addition is its size. Bordered by the Boulevard, Broad Street, the train line and the Powhite Parkway (for now anyway), it’s a fairly defned shape, and its proximity to highways, rail lines, the Fan, and VCU make it a wonder it didn’t transition from primarily industrial years earlier.
“It’s still a really small area,” reports Rachel Anderson. “You can go get a beer and then you can get some coffee. If you want to get a snack, you can go next door, and if you want to shop, you can pop over to Class and Trash and then go eat dinner. And that’s within a six-by-six block area!”