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Tori James was a freshman in high school when Two Doors Down opened on East Main Street in Downtown Spartanburg.
James remembered she and her friends were fans of the boutique’s clothes, jewelry and accessories. Two Doors Down was a place for young women looking to look their best.
“This was the place to come for Secret Santa gifts, little earrings and stuff like that,” James said. “I have a pair of earrings from the year it opened. I remember my friends were swapping around in a Santa gift exchange thing and I was like, ‘I have to have those earrings.’ I have them, and still wear them. It’s funny. I’m feeling very sentimental today.”
James is now a partner at Two Doors Down with Kelly Blackwell, who opened the store. Two Doors Down has developed a loyal clientele over the years and is a mainstay of Downtown Spartanburg, with a front-row seat of the revitalization downtown has seen over the last several years.
“Ten years ago, there were just a handful of stores and restaurants, a handful of everything, downtown. Now, there’s so many new restaurants and retail, it’s coming alive,” Blackwell said. “We’re really happy.”
Two Doors Down is hosting a 10 Year Anniversary Party on Nov. 3. The event is designed to be a celebration of the boutique, the customers who have kept coming back and the community that has sprung up in Downtown Spartanburg.
“We’re kind of doing an all-day thing. We’re going to have drinks and snacks and goodies from local restaurants downtown, giveaways, raffles, we’ve got some big things we’re going to raffle off,” James said. “We’re just showing our appreciation. We wouldn’t be here without our community, our shoppers who have become friends, everybody who has supported us. It’s a big thank you to the community, really.”
Over the last decade, Two Doors Down clients have grown up with the store.
“We’ve seen a lot of girls grow up, get married, go off to college over the years,” Blackwell said.
“That just hit me in the feelings right there. I kind of grew up here, grew up with the store, I guess,” James said. “When I worked here in high school, the same women who came in still come in now. It’s funny to hear them say, ‘oh, we’re so proud of you and where you are, you’re doing so well,’ and it’s like, aww, thanks.”
Almost as important as what Two Doors Down offers on its shelves is what James and Blackwell offer to their customers – a friendly environment and often, long conversations. James said it’s not uncommon for shoppers to venture into the store, talk for 30 minutes and then remember what they were shopping for.
As the boutique built up its fan base, the fortunes of Downtown Spartanburg started improving. Blackwell was excited to see it and is hoping to keep up the momentum.
“I wanted to be part of downtown’s revitalization,” she said. “It’s happening now and it’s been happening for the past few years.”
Influenced partly by data from pedestrian traffic counters installed by the Downtown Development Partnership, Two Doors Down recently expanded their hours to capitalize on the growth in traffic downtown. The store is now open from 11 a.m.-7 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday.
“We would close at 6 p.m. and I would be upstairs and see all these people walking around and be like, ‘shoot, we could be open right now,’” James said. “Even now, we’ll be open until 7:45 p.m. sometimes because people just keep coming in and walking around outside. As long as people are wandering in, I’m going to stay open. ‘Come on in!’”
Blackwell and James have been planning the boutique’s 10 Year Anniversary Party for several months. The event will be dedicated to Downtown Spartanburg, the people and businesses who have helped it thrive and the future of the Hub City.
“We really didn’t know what to expect and the first time we posted it, we had like, 40 people going and 100 people interested. We were like, ‘oh, okay, so it’s not just family and close friends coming,’” she said with a chuckle. “The more the merrier. This whole thing is an ode to downtown as a thank you to the community but also to support the community and show what we’ve got.”