Concerned about a lack of clothing retail options in Pullman, a local couple sprung into action and started a business of their own.

Michelle and Michael Kelly created Michelle’s Closet, a consignment store at 123 N. Grand Ave. They celebrated its grand opening Oct. 1.

The Pullman couple shared two separate but similar stories for how they were inspired to become business owners. Michelle Kelly said the idea came to them when they had trouble shopping for the right shoes they needed in Pullman. Michael Kelly said they were inspired after a visit to Moscow revealed a “vast difference” in retail options between the two cities.

Either way, they both were led to the same realization that Pullman needed more shopping options. Michelle Kelly said when they looked at the cost of running a consignment store, they became optimistic.

“Hey, we could actually do this,” she said.

Michael said that after they opened, many people who visited Michelle’s Closet shared their excitement for having a new place to shop.

“The common theme is: ‘We need this,’ ” he said.

The couple describes the store’s selection as quality clothing for a moderate price. They accept clothing that looks high-end but is affordable to a college student.

Michelle Kelly said they wanted to offer students something the Kellys didn’t have as Washington State University students.

“I remember being a student and I couldn’t afford any of the shopping here,” she said.

While they mostly cater to the 18- to 27-year-old demographic, they also carry items for older customers and plan on opening a children’s section by December.

The store’s empty shelves and floor space is slowly filling with items. Michelle said they accept clothes that are in season, trendy, lightly used or new.

The Kellys said they want people to get excited about visiting downtown Pullman. As it happens, their store’s opening nearly coincided with the opening of Monroe, a locally owned men’s boutique clothing store down the street on South Grand Avenue.

“We feel like we complement each other,” Michelle Kelly said of the two businesses.

Michael and Michelle Kelly met each other while students at WSU. They moved back to Pullman in January from Watertown, N.Y., after Michelle Kelly accepted a job at WSU’s ROTC program. She said Watertown’s downtown is undergoing a revitalization, and they are hoping to be part of a similar revitalization in Pullman.


Anthony Kuipers can be reached at (208) 883-4640, or by email to akuipers@dnews.com.

Recommended for you