- story and photos by Ellis Anderson
A new store has opened in the 126 Main Street building, a location that’s been an Old Town anchor for the past thirty years.
“Salty Souls” is the brainchild of seasoned entrepreneur Jane Alford. It’s right across the street from her popular store Bay-Tique boutique (125 Main Street), which Alford opened seven years ago.
The new store focuses on sportswear for men and women, yoga-wear and nautical-themed gifts – many designed by Alford herself. Salty Souls also stocks, sunglasses, sunscreen and beach supplies.
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Alford says she actually came up with the Salty Soul concept several years ago and began designing products, like t-shirts and hats, to offer in Bay-Tique. Two factors fueled her decision to open the new retail location.
In December, the only local retailer of sportswear – Green Canyon Outfitter – closed. A few months later, one of Old Town’s prime locations became available when bijoubel owner Melissa Hamilton purchased a historic building a few doors down from her 126 Main St. location and moved into her new digs.
The 126 Main Street building is owned by chef Nancy Moynan, whose restaurant, Lulu’s on Main, is located in the back. She’s a long-time neighbor and friend of Alford’s. The two women began kicking around ideas, asking themselves what was missing in Old Town. It was obvious to both that since Green Canyon closed there was no place that specialized in men’s apparel.
“We batted it around and said, ‘Let’s do it!’” Alford says.
Alford is going into the new venture with the experience, the network and the know-how of a seasoned retailer.
“Bay-Tique has been very successful,” she says. “For each of the seven years we’ve been in business, we’ve met or exceeded our goals.”
Alford attributes the success of Bay-Tique to several factors.
“Hard work, great employees – like my manager, Karen Grumbine – and the growth of Bay St. Louis in general. I’m a big believer in the Bay.”
The guests in Alford’s Carroll House Bed & Breakfast, a few blocks away, also help by giving her feedback on what they like about Bay St. Louis and what they’d like to see in the future.
The entrepreneur laughs when asked to name her favorite thing about the new shop.
“When the ladies come to shop at Bay-Tique, we can send their husbands across the street,” she says with a smile.