Skip Tyree isn’t your average entrepreneur.
When he was ready to open a business on Germantown Avenue in Mt. Airy, he didn’t start with a plan in hand.
He first asked the community for ideas.
“Instead of us going in there and going with whatever we want, we wanted to go in there and be receptive to the neighborhood,” said Tyree, a long-time Mt. Airy resident.
To that end, Tyree met with members of the Mt. Airy business community and Mt. Airy USA, a community development corporation.
Several options for the Avenue were thrown on the table, including a sporting goods store, a full-fledged deli and a shoe store.
“Basic everyday necessities,” said Tyree of the types of shops he hasn’t seen on the Avenue for at least 15 years.
Today, Tyree will open Mainly Shoes & More at 7167 Germantown Avenue, the first of up to three businesses he plans to open in the near future. He’s already securing a location for a deli.
The family focused store will sell mostly women’s footwear, but also include men’s and children’s styles. Tyree said he’d sell some clothing and accessories later on.
When asked about competition from nearby malls, Tyree said he isn’t worried: He’s offering something completely different.
“My store is set-up like your living room,” he said. “Everything from the couches to the plush carpeting to the flat screens on the wall to the kids plays area. Very convenient, very customer service oriented. “
“You’re not going to get that out on Chemical Road,” he added.
The store will also donate a dollar or two from every sale to charity. Tyree said he’s choosing between Coaches vs. Cancer or Alex’s Lemonade Stand Foundation.
Tyree thinks the community will quickly buy-in to what’s he’s offering.
“Fifty percent of the people work from home. So if they can have everything they need within walking distance, it’s a really good thing for them,” said Tyree.
For those not traveling on foot, the shop will have plenty of free parking, including a 200-car lot that runs behind the property that will be immediately repaved.
Mainly Shoes & More will have its grand opening Jan. 29.