The Natty Dresser in downtown Albany, which opened last September, won two downtown revitalization awards from the state during the Oregon Main Street Conference in The Dalles on Wednesday.
The high-end menswear shop and haberdashery, which includes a tailor on site, was named “Best New Business” and also won the “Best Interior Renovation” award from Oregon Main Street.
“We’re very excited and a little humbled, because there were some amazing renovation projects that happened in Oregon in the last year,” said Oscar Hult, who owns the business with his wife, Tamalynne Hult.
“People come in all time and tell us how nice it is,” he said. But validation from the state in the form of the awards was “awesome,” Hult added.
When the Hults were looking to open a business, they knew a men’s clothing shop was needed.
Albany residents had been driving to Salem or Portland, especially for hats, they said.
“The last men’s store before we opened (in Albany) closed in 1989,” Hult said.
Sheri Stuart, Oregon Main Street coordinator, said that the business has stimulated the local economy. “The overall design of the shop gives a feeling that The Natty Dresser has been in business for generations,” she added.
“The Natty Dresser has brought back a classic and trendy men’s store to downtown Albany," said Janet Steele, president of the Albany Area Chamber of Commerce. "It’s a wonderful store for men and those who want to buy for the man in their life."
Peggy Burris, executive director of the Albany Downtown Association, said that The Natty Dresser and other successful shops create a ripple effect that spreads benefits throughout downtown.
“It makes it easier to come downtown for all those things you might be needing,” she said.
The space occupied by The Natty Dresser, at 425 First Ave. W., was vacant for more than five years and was in need of extensive renovation, according to a news release from Oregon Main Street.
Earlier attempts at rehabbing the space had left large holes in the plaster work, four layers of flooring over the original floors, a ceiling that was no longer properly supported and the original 1890s cast iron columns buried in drywall, the news release states.
The space also was cut up by a series of partitions which were removed.
The Hults said they did most of the renovations themselves, and the bulk of the work took about six months.
The business is continuing to expand the brands that it carries and is getting ready for the holiday season — and a downtown holiday open house on Nov. 5, Hult said.
Oregon Main Street seeks to revitalize historic downtowns throughout the state, and provides training, technical services and other assistance to communities. It is administered by the State Historic Preservation Office, which is part of the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department.
The Natty Dresser is open Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday from noon to 5 p.m. Additional information is available by phone at 541-248-3561 or on the store’s Facebook page.