May 17, 2002
Binns to expand store in Merchants Square
Binns Fashion Shop, the upscale women’s clothing store on Duke of Gloucester Street in Merchants Square, has reached an agreement with Colonial Williamsburg to expand its current store by more than 5,000 sq. ft. The addition will include 4,200 sq. ft. in the future College Corner building plus an 850 sq. ft. extension to its current location. Binns currently has a total of 8,350 sq. ft. on the first and second floors.
“Binns has been a very successful business that has grown impressively over the years and, with this expansion, will continue to prosper for many years to come,” said Edward S. “Ned” Dunn, president of the Colonial Williamsburg Company. “We are excited about their plans to grow by using the new space both to add to current product lines and introduce new ones.”
“Binns’ success in attracting customers from Richmond to Virginia Beach and into North Carolina is an important part of Colonial Williamsburg’s vision for maintaining Merchants Square as the region’s leading shopping area,” he added.
The College Corner Building will house at least four retail stores within its 33,000 sq. ft. of space: Binns (4,200 sq. ft.), Talbot’s (8,500 sq. ft.) and two additional retailers (2,975 sq. ft. and 4,300 sq. ft., respectively) that are yet to be determined. Approximately 7,000 sq. ft. of the new building will be used for offices.
“We are very enthusiastic about our upcoming expansion,” said Binns President Kimberly S. Jones. “Binns is extremely grateful to our loyal local and regional customers. Their continual support over the past 77 years has allowed us to remain successful amid much turbulence in the retail world. We appreciate Colonial Williamsburg’s commitment to Binns and look forward to a successful partnership with the foundation as we expand.”
Jones noted that Binns plans to significantly expand its cosmetics department into its own salon. Additionally, Binns will utilize some of the additional space to create an expanded area for petites and is considering adding a department for large sizes. “This much-needed additional space will enable Binns to grow in areas that we have just been able to touch upon,” said Jones.
Binns was established in 1925 on Duke of Gloucester Street, near the Magazine, by Mrs. Arabella Binns as a means of putting her orphaned nephew through college. Binns has been in the Merchants Square vicinity continuously since 1933, first in the Hitchens Building on North Boundary Street, where Massey’s and the Flower Cupboard are today, and later at its current site where it relocated in 1962. Owned at that time by Mr. and Mrs. J.B. Hickman, the store doubled in size following the move to Duke of Gloucester for a total of 2,400 sq. ft. The Hickmans expanded Binns three more times between 1962 and 1981 to more than 7,500 sq. ft, then sold the store to Mr. and Mrs. Charles Gee in 1981. Kimberly Jones became president of Binns in 1992. In 2001, Binns received the fashion industry’s prestigious Diva award as the nation’s best single store retailer in women’s fashions.