Following a four-month stint at its initial Short North location, Righno, a locally owned men’s fashion boutique, has moved to a more visible storefront in the prominent arts district.
Righno is now situated at 1242 N. High St., near the intersection of West Fifth Avenue. It was just west of the Short North’s main drag at 22 W. Fourth Ave., catty-corner to Michael’s Goody Boy Diner, when it opened in October. The store just finished its second month of operation at its new home.
“There’s just better visibility, more foot traffic,” said Corey Bee, a Columbus native and the founder of Righno, which is pronounced like rhino. “It’s just a better location.”
Fortunately for Bee, the transition to the current location was a seamless one, he said, because the same company owned both spaces. He closed at the old place like usual on Jan. 31, and Righno didn’t miss a beat.
Bee worked through the night, touching up the new walls with paint and transferring the inventory to the new storefront two blocks away. This overnight relocation was made possible, in large part, because of Righno’s desire to remain simple.
The walls are white. Linear, fluorescent light fixtures are left exposed on the ceiling. Most of the products are neatly arranged on tables that Bee, along with a friend, made from whitewood 2x4s. Other pieces of clothing are on display, dangling from a thin wire.
“I’m all about simplicity. Product is what’s most important. Some people can overdo it with fixtures, wall paint, just decor in general,” Bee said. “I really didn’t want to do that.”
This has been Bee’s philosophy since he founded Righno in February 2011. It initially began as an online retailer for both men and women. In 2014, he opened the company’s first brick-and-mortar store in Indianapolis, where he was living at the time after attending the Art Institute of Indianapolis for fashion design.
By that point, Bee had shifted Righno’s focus to menswear only, with a heavy emphasis on making it more than just a clothing store.
He turned Righno into a “lifestyle shop,” he said. With its wide range of products, Bee likened it to a grocery store for men’s goods.
“You can come in here and get skin care, apparel, underwear, books, plants. And we have a blog and email list,” Bee said. “Once you start shopping here, you become a part of it and you’re invested in it.”
Bee founded his own clothing line, BRAMNEK, that he sells at Righno, but a majority of the products are from other brands he said he believes in. Classifying the type of apparel found at Righno isn’t an easy task, but it fits within Bee’s mindset to stay simple while avoiding trends.
He said he feels Righno and its offerings fit right in with the entire atmosphere of the Short North. Although Righno isn’t in the heart of the cultural district, Bee said the location near other clothing stores is helping boost the neighborhood’s northernmost tip.
Workers at the retailers near Righno are happy to have the store on High Street, too.
“It’s definitely positive,” said Tyler Dodd, an employee at American Apparel, located nearly directly across the street from Righno. “People will start viewing this as more of a shopping destination.”
Jordan Chasteen, a manager at Out Of The Closet, a second-hand clothing retailer one address down from Righno, said “the more people that come in this area, the better.”
Righno is not confined to just Columbus, though. A store in Cincinnati’s Over-the-Rhine district just opened on March 1, and a store in a developing shopping hub on Cleveland’s East Side is set to open in October 2017.
The Righno location in Indianapolis did, however, close at the end of February. Bee said it was hard to leave the city where Righno’s first physical location was, but he “had to do it” due to a failure to find reliable staff.
Bee said he’s hoping to one day bring Righno back to its roots in Indianapolis, but he’s not sure when. In the meantime, he’ll continue growing his brand in his home state while remembering Righno’s core principles.
“I’m always trying to bring in new things people need,” Bee said. “I’m not trying to keep up with the trends, just the lifestyle.”
Righno is open from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and from noon to 5 p.m. Sunday.