Two business owners, both Pullman natives, are trying to fill a shopping need for men on the Palouse.
Ruthanna Willey and Jake Willey on Saturday will celebrate the grand opening of their new business, Monroe, a men’s boutique clothing store on 107 S. Grand Avenue in Pullman.
Monroe, which had a soft opening at the end of August, sells clothes, accessories, blankets, grooming products, home decor items and, in the future, shoes.
Ruthanna Willey said they also own Rockstar Body Bar and used to own Route 27 Parlor until they merged both businesses into one.
That left a storefront space on South Grand vacant for them to explore a new business opportunity.
“It was like this blank slate,” Ruthanna Willey said.
They saw a need in the region for a place men could shop for clothes outside of a mall or at a big box store like Walmart. Their goal, Ruthanna Willey said, is to provide items that “embody the men of the Palouse.”
Jake Willey said he and Ruthanna Willey try to stock the store with as many Pacific Northwest-sourced items as possible, in addition to several nationally known brands.
“Pullman and Moscow are about shopping small and shopping local,” Jake Willey said.
Even the build out of the store, which was completed by the Willeys and their family members, was done with local supplies. The wooden frame for the dressing room, for instance, is made of cypress wood from Farmington, Wash.
Jake Willey said the store will continue to evolve and they are always looking for suggestions from the public on what to sell. He said they do not mark up the prices on their products so as to keep them “as affordable as possible.”
As they look forward to the store’s grand opening, which runs from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and will feature food and music from Seattle performer Ian Crawford, the Willeys said they believe their hometown is the right place to be small business owners.
“There’s no place we’d rather invest than downtown Pullman” Jake Willey said.
Anthony Kuipers can be reached at (208) 883-4640, or by email to firstname.lastname@example.org.