Willow 31 makes return to downtown Clanton

Published 2:02 pm Friday, July 7, 2023

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By Carey Reeder | Managing Editor

After over two years away from downtown Clanton, Kelsie Barrett Elrod and Willow 31 returned to Clanton and celebrated with a ribbon cutting ceremony on July 7. The original Willow 31 building in downtown sits just across Second Avenue North from the new location keeping the business’ roots close.

Elrod and her mother, Shelley Morris, opened the original Willow 31 business in 2018 and before they knew it their business was skyrocketing once the COVID-19 pandemic began. They were outgrowing their warehouse portion of their building, and the business chose to move to a bigger warehouse in Pelham with no storefront. The storefront feel and look were something Elrod yearned to have back for her business.

“We really wanted to open a storefront back up because we were holding events and stuff at the warehouse, and we missed the storefront,” Elrod said. “We knew we wanted to be back in downtown (Clanton), and with downtown growing as much as it has lately we decided we wanted to be right in the middle of it.”

Elrod and Morris found the current building directly across from the old one, and they began remodeling it the same week they purchased it. Elrod’s husband, Jason Elrod, put in new floors, fresh paint and added dressing rooms to get the building ready for its grand opening and return.

The new building is much larger than its predecessor and features two large warehouse rooms in the back, giving Elrod the best of both having a storefront, but also space to store items in a warehouse. When it came to the location, there was no better place for Elrod to set back up in Clanton.

“It is our home, and it has always been our home,” Elrod said. “We have always had a love for these historic buildings in downtown … We completely redid the old store and this store, and we just really love the historic downtown.”

Morris said being close friends with the other business owners downtown is also something that she enjoys about the new location.

“When you have comradery with the other businesses around, it makes it more fun,” Morris said.

Willow 31 will have boutique style clothes, shoes, jewelry and accessories available for customers. While there was a men’s section at the previous location, the new Willow 31 will have only women’s clothing available.

Elrod and her staff are already trying their hand at getting involved in community events as well such as hosting a back to school shopping bash in August and participating in Black Friday, Cyber Monday and Small Business Saturday with sales. They will also be involved in the 12 Days of Christmas in the winter.

“We are so thankful to be back and thankful it has been so welcoming,” Elrod said. “Thank you to all the businesses who have sent us gifts or nice messages, and it is good to be back.”

Willow 31 is located at 612 2nd Avenue North, Clanton and is open Monday-Saturday from 10 a.m.-6 p.m.