Purchase photos

Olive's downtown clothing ventures open

11/12/2013

Special to The Hays Daily News

Building on his success with Couture for Men, founder Leland Olive also opened Couture for Women this week in downtown Hays, adjoining his existing business recently moved from Centennial Mall. The boutiques occupy the renovated historic properties of 1109 and 1111 Main.

Couture for Men resides on the main floor of 1109 Main with a custom doorway created by the developer, Liberty Group, connecting the men's side with Couture for Women located 1111 Main. Historical elements of both buildings were restored by Liberty Group in compliance with Kansas Historical Society's guidelines.

"For the first time people are able to drive by and see what we have to offer," Olive said. "We have the opportunity to attract new customers with the increased space and display opportunities. We hope they keep coming back because of our commitment to one-on-one customer service."

The stores offer men and women's clothing and are open from 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 1 to 5 p.m. Sunday.

An FHSU graduate and 30-year veteran of the clothing industry, Olive began working with Liberty Group this summer to tailor the storefronts' unfinished interiors to meet his specific needs. According to Kelli Hansen of Liberty Group, this works best for all those involved.

"Our first step in renovation is to secure and shore up the exterior of the buildings to protect the structures from damage by the elements," Liberty's Kelli Hansen said. "We prefer to work on the interiors in conjunction with the lessee in order to customize the space to their business."

Originally constructed in 1896, the west 1100 block, known as the Wann Block, has previously housed businesses including grocery stores, offices and most notably the Independent Order of Odd Fellows Lodge. Coincidentally, the other side of Main Street was renowned for men's clothing with the 1960s established Village Shop, formerly located at 1102 Main in the Strand Theatre. It was as a young employee of the Village Shop that Liberty Group founder, Chuck Comeau, became endeared with downtown Hays leading him to later renovate more than 20 historic buildings in its core that is now known as the Chestnut Street District.