5th & Hall during a ‘Pop-up Shop’ held in the infamous tudor. Taken by: Audra Dick
Emily Goldberg, Staff Writer
Flashback to the year 1960 – you walk down the hall of your college, book bag in hand, peering out to your fellow Ivy League-ers as you all walk to class. You spot a girl by your classroom door wearing an outfit that could only be put together by an expert with a keen sense of fashion and well-tailored, Rock-n-Roll style. You ask her where she found the combination of her cleanly classic yet beat-up, grunge outfit and the process of trend setting begins. Flash-forward to the year 2014, clothing store 5th and Hall continues to tell the story of the Ivy League fashion queen.
For store owners and Lakeland natives, Abdiel Gonzalez and Kristy Scott, opening a store such as 5th and Hall was a long time dream. They i ncorporated their combination of styling, designing and professional retail experience to create a store that tells a story to reach their college and professional aged demographic. The inspiration of the name came directly from the store’s aesthetic and the image they were trying to portray, street fashion and modern classically tailored pieces inspired by 1960s Ivy League menswear. The origin of the name was something both of the owners created. Gonzalez knew that he wanted “Hall” in it because it’s reminiscent of the “Ivy League life” and American life with national halls and important meeting halls in schools. Scott chose a random street number to be paired with “Hall” conveying that their store is where “street fashion and classic American clothing meet.”
What could be considered a marriage of current trends, the style of clothing can be described as “grunge rock” and edgy “street clothing” but rooted in classic American clothing. They shopped around vintage stores such as J. Crew, Gap, Banana Republic to get the inspiration for clean-cut blazers, button-ups and trousers but then looked at Urban Outfitters to get inspiration for the edgier side of their brand.
“It’s essentially if J. Crew and Urban Outfitters were to have a love child,” Gonzalez said.
They get most of their merchandise from trade shows that feature U.S. brands such as Junk Food and Obey, both based out of L.A. They also work with a few international designers from Australia, Paris, Singapore and Africa. But they want to tap into Lakeland’s family-like community so a lot of their jewelry is made locally and they work with Overland Empire for more locally made clothing.
“Our customers are individuals who love style, love tradition, but like to break the rules and make a statement while still holding true to traditions and classics,” Gonzalez said.
5th and Hall originally opened up in March of 2014 and that October they started buying merchandise. They held their first pop-up shop at Black and Brew Coffee Shop on Jan. 17, 2015 to debut their first collection to the community. Here, customers were able to meet the owners, buy some of their clothing and fully experience the store culture of 5th and Hall. Gonzalez and Scott continued to connect with the community by hosting more pop-up shops for several months. After successfully getting their name out there, they secured a permanent location in November of 2015. The store is now being renovated in a historic locksmith building in the art district of Dixieland and will open to the public at the end of April. This new location in historic downtown Lakeland is a perfect way to extend the store’s culture and image.
The customers are “really behind the idea of something that is theirs, something that is original to Lakeland and they’re really loving the style,” Gonzalez said.
This brand new store is something Lakeland has never seen before and because it was built by city natives, they were able to understand the need for style and good shopping experience, something they are now able to provide. They succeeded in targeting the Lakeland aesthetic and fulfilling customers’ needs by accommodating the desire for a more trendy style but also meeting the needs of those who stay more conservative.
Style is an ever-changing, every-growing industry. With many creative locals starting to build businesses, it’s important to not only meet the needs of your target consumer but also make your business stand out while in tandem fitting in with the community.
In the short two years 5th and Hall has been in the works, they have mastered the art of introducing brand new ideas to a growing community by immersing themselves into the community’s culture. The future success of Lakeland is dependent upon small business owners who fully understand the true nature of the city and are able to comply with that while innovating new ideas, something that 5th and Hall has clearly mastered.
Flash-forward to the year 2016, 5th and Hall is still able to continue the story of the trendy Ivy League girl way back from 1960.