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Entrepreneurial Newport retailers planning to add more stores to Levee’s Man Cave, Kelley’s Closet


By Andy Foltz
NKyTribune Correspondent

Russ Shirley and his partner Michael Kelley took a day off a couple weeks ago, where they only ended up working three or four hours.

This qualifies as having “down time” since they’ve moved to Newport with their shops, Kelley’s Closet and the Man Cave, now located at Newport on the Levee.

There may not be much “down time” in their immediate future, since they have recently opened a third retail shop in Newport, Past & Presents, located on Monmouth Street between 5th and 6th Streets – and they have yet another store planned with the hopes of being open this summer.

“We’ve been doing this for three and a half years,” Shirley said. “We always had a five-year plan and are very diverse in what our interests are.”

Style at low prices at Kelley's Closet (Photos provided)

Upscale style at low prices at Kelley’s Closet (Photos provided)

The idea with their stores, he said, is to have something for everybody, and to keep prices for their goods at $20 or less.

“We are trying to create shops that look upscale but are reasonably priced,” he said. “People aren’t going to spend hundreds of dollars when they come here to see a movie.”

“The Levee is more of an entertainment center than a shopping center, and we’re trying to change that,” he added.

The Man Cave, on first floor of the Levee, includes all the accoutrements one would need to decorate, well, a man cave.

They also sell a variety of other items, including clothing.

Kelley’s Closet, which moved into the space formerly occupied by DEB’s at the Levee, is the same concept, but for women. There is more emphasis on the clothing at Kelley’s Closet.

The Man Cave -- eclectic variety

The Man Cave — eclectic variety

Past & Presents, which Shirley hopes to soon have open the same hours as the Levee, is more of a collectible, memorabilia and gift shop. The store got its start in Bellevue, but was moved to be closer to the other shops Shirley and Kelley run, as well as to be part of the development along Monmouth.

Items for sale include signed items, old sports and movie posters and other memorabilia, and a bit of furniture. Stock will be in constant rotation, so as it sells it is replaced with something else entirely.

“We really want to promote Newport,” Shirley said. “With a couple more destination places, Monmouth could be a tourist destination, like Short North (Arts District) in Columbus. We want to be in the grassroots of that.”

The upcoming children’s store is set to be in the space between the Man Cave and Kelley’s Closet, and will bridge the gap between the two other stores, with children’s clothing, toys, games, and possibly baby items to aid shoppers who find they’ve run out of a necessity.

Future plans for Shirley and Kelley include possibly doing those three stores in other shopping centers, either side by side as at the Levee or as subsections of one bigger store.


The expansion is impressive, as the Man Cave opened its doors Labor Day weekend last year, and Kelley’s Closet moved into its former location in the Levee only last June. The first shop was 450 square feet in Bellevue, selling things Shirley and Kelley mostly already owned. Now, they have over 10,000 square feet of retail space.

The shops have been well-received, they said.

The stores utilize Square, a mobile-based payment system for credit and debit cards. Square sends out customer satisfaction surveys immediately as part of their service.

“And we haven’t had a bad one yet,” Kelley said.

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