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Black-owned fashion retailer opens in downtown Grand Rapids

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Courtesy of Mel Styles LLC“>
Mel Styles was originally slated to open in July, but the COVID-19 crisis has forced owner Archie Sudue into survival mode after his generally reliable customer base was lost with continued prom and wedding cancellations. Courtesy of Mel Styles LLC

Styles Mel Monday announced the official opening of its first physical studio this weekend.

Owner and founder Archie Sudue will open the first black-owned menswear store in downtown Grand Rapids on Saturday at 315 S. Division Ave.

My goal is to bring elegance and affordable costumes to downtown Grand Rapids, Sudue said. One of the most important things is to be able to have a diverse environment where everyone feels free to shop. Instead of renting a costume, here you can own a costume for a similar price.

Mel Styles was originally slated to open in July, but the COVID-19 crisis forced Sudue to go into survival mode after his generally reliable customer base was lost with continued prom and wedding cancellations.

Sudue said he quickly turned to making and selling face masks and sold them in batches to the local NAACP and other organizations in Grand Rapids.

The open house for Mel Styles runs from 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday. Normal business hours will be 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Monday to Friday, noon to 5 p.m., Saturday and Sunday by appointment only.

Sudue graduated from SpringGR’s Fall 2017 class, where he was among the three winners of the pitch night. It was also a winner at a launch party at the Start Garden. First an engineering student, he chose to pursue his passion for fashion. This led him to manage the men’s clothing department at Macys and Mens Warehouse.

Along with Archie, he’s extremely knowledgeable, said Attah Obande, director of dream fulfillment at SpringGR. He obviously has eyes for fashion and is a skilled tailor, but I believe we have helped him turn those skills into a business.

SpringGR is a non-profit organization that helps aspiring entrepreneurs and startups succeed in the business world through a 12-week foundational training program.

I think the most remarkable thing for me is having a black-owned costume store in downtown Grand Rapids, Obande said. He’s the only one, and one of the things that I think he may have done well that is part of his success coming out of SpringGR is that he’s really tied into the business ecosystem in general because of that, I think he’s built some really solid support. by opening his store.

After graduating from SpringGR, Sudue appeared in fashion shows across the country including Miami, Los Angeles, Detroit, Chicago and New York.