• By Lisa Brody

Return to retail

From his original Birmingham retail establishments Mark Keller, to West End to Basic Goods, Mark Keller has returned to his retail roots, which stretch back to 1975, with the establishment of Matthildur x Mark Keller, 929 S. Eton Road in Birmingham, where he shares space with Laurie Tennent Studio. “I met Matthildur 20 years ago, when I still had the (Lilith) retail store in the (Willits) alley,” Keller said, of the Icelandic designer, who at the time was working with two other women and marketing under ELM designs – which stood for their three initials. “I bought some sweaters and sold them, and I told them I could help them out – I opened 40 accounts for them.” The company grew – until the 2008 Great Recession, when the country of Iceland actually went bankrupt. Matthildur’s friends soured on the business, but Keller told her to go for it – and she has, using fine Peruvian fabrics and a flowing style. Keller opened accounts around the country for her, including many in New York City, and periodically did pop-ups in Birmingham’s Linda Dresner. Recently, they saw the space at photographer Laurie Tennent’s in Birmingham’s Rail District, “and we said it’s perfect,” and Keller is back in retail. “Retail is not dead – and Birmingham has great retailers – like Linda Dresner, Caruso, and Sundance Shoes,” he said. What Keller likes best about having his own store again, which is open Thursday, Friday and Saturday and by appointment, “is getting customer feedback. That’s worth a zillion dollars. I enjoy the ability to listen and make people happy.”

Business Matters for the Birmingham - Bloomfield area are reported by Lisa Brody. Send items for consideration to LisaBrody@downtownpublications.com. Items should be received three weeks prior to publication.

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