By Kasey Trapuzzano
AvenueBlack, a locally owned boutique in downtown Fincastle, offers Botetourt shoppers a variety of clothing, household items, accessories and more.
Boutique owner and Fincastle native Ranelle Simmons said she was looking to “fill a need” in the area by opening her own boutique — something Fincastle didn’t have prior to AvenueBlack.
“I’ve always loved Fincastle,” Simmons said. “It was my goal to bring something to the community that could bring people together…[It’s] exciting that I get to look around [at the boutique] and see what my husband and I have built together.”
In 2019, Simmons was the coordinator for the Fincastle Festival and said the job renewed her love for both the town and the community. Originally, Simmons’ idea for AvenueBlack was to sell items at smaller pop-up events, markets and festivals in the area — which she began doing in 2019.
In July 2021, Simmons launched an online site for AvenueBlack and continued to do pop-up shops and events at the Fincastle Festival, New Freedom Farm’s Freedom Fest, Buchanan’s Mountain Magic Festival, The Kyle House and The French Farmhouse. Still up and running, the online site ships items anywhere in the United States and offers local pick-up. Currently, orders $50 or more receive free shipping.
After launching the online site in 2021, Simmons found building space on South Roanoke Street for a brick and mortar, in-store boutique, which underwent renovations for the remainder of 2021 and part of 2022 due to a lack of material supplies and workers that was caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
“[The building] just screamed boutique,” Simmons said.
On April 29, 2022, AvenueBlack officially opened its doors in Fincastle. The boutique specializes in women’s and children’s clothing and shoes, household items including drinkware, knick-knacks and decor, accessories, jewelry and a few men’s items — all of which can be purchased in-store or online. Simmons said AvenueBlack’s bestsellers are T-shirts and graphic tees and that she’s currently working with designers on an exclusive line of Fincastle and Botetourt merchandise, including T-shirts and hoodies, to go with the Fincastle and Botetourt key chains the boutique already has in stock.
“There will be at least three different designs,” Simmons said. “One will be Fincastle; one will be Botetourt and then the other one will be some kind of quote that relates to the area.”
The typical price point for items at AvenueBlack is between $30-$50 — a “comfortable” price point for both the boutique and customers, Simmons said. As a mom of three, Simmons said she hopes AvenueBlack can be a special place for shoppers, especially for mothers and their children.
“I really want it to be a space for the community that pretty much anybody can find something that they love,” Simmons said.
On occasion, AvenueBlack offers holiday sales, Simmons said. In the past, this has included Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Memorial Day sales. Additionally, Simmons said AvenueBlack accepts full returns on items within 30 days if unwashed and unworn.
Looking toward the future, Simmons said she’s preparing AvenueBlack for the Fincastle Festival on September 24. Additionally, Simmons said the construction of a deck on the backside of AvenueBlack is in the works, in hopes of hosting community events like collaborative pop-up events and maker’s markets with other small businesses in the area.
“Right now, what I’m working on is getting the events side [of the boutique] up and going,” Simmons said. “I’d like to create something that other small businesses [and makers] can come to and share ideas and [homemade goods] — just a community where people can be supportive. I think more smaller [events] like that throughout the year would be really beneficial for makers in the area.”
AvenueBlack is open Wednesday-Friday, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., and Saturday 10 a.m.-4 p.m. To shop online, visit https://shopavenueblack.com/. To stay up to date on the latest styles, follow AvenueBlack on Instagram and Facebook at @shopavenueblack.