Lexington’s Torso Menswear closes down

Torso MenswearLEXINGTON — Central Kentucky might not seem like a place that would have a menswear store that sells Cellblock 13 and Nasty Pig, but until this past weekend, it was home to Torso Menswear. However, after repeated break-ins, store owner Adam Rodriquez-Routt announced this past weekend that the brick-and-mortar store would close. Adam took the time to answer some question about the store closure.

First, so we have background, describe the store and how long it has been open.

Torso Menswear opened its doors at the first location in December 2014. It was nestled between (2) gay bars in Lexington, KY on S Limestone Street, a very busy corridor near University of Kentucky Campus.  In September 2015, we moved to a larger location at 214 W. Maxwell Street.  The new location allowed us to offer more brands; more dressing rooms; and more parking to our customers.

What lead you to open the the store?

Many large US cities have a menswear store that caters to underwear & swimwear. I wanted to bring that “big city” shopping option to the place where I call home. So I opened boutique-style menswear store where guys could feel comfortable shopping and selecting garments that complimented their body types without feeling embarrassed or feeling forced to purchase something online that ends up not fitting properly.

Were there any other similar businesses in the area or in Kentucky?

Aside from an online supplier of men’s underwear who just relocated to the Lexington area, the closest retail establishments are located in Indianapolis, IN and Columbus, OH. I had many loyal customers who would drive 2+ hours just to shop at my store.

Did you have strong community support?

I am extremely grateful for the support I’ve received from the customers who DID shop loyally at my store. But, as a whole, I do not feel I had the full support from the community in Lexington.  I had huge support from three bars in Louisville; but only one out of four from Lexington would partner with me for pop-up sales and promotions.  In fact, one bar within 100 feet of my store flat-out refused to partner with me, but would get an online business located 6 hours away to come do underwear & swimwear shows to promote the exact brands I sold in my store.  This same bar has banners on the outside of their building saying “Support Local”.

Do you think the store was targeted for break-ins because it was a gay-owned business or simply part of crime in the area?

I have never been the type to play the victim, but in this case I do feel my store has been targeted. My store resides in an area with neighboring businesses – all of which who have not been broken into.  Mine has been broken into (4) times within (4) months – with more taken each time.  Whether it’s the disgruntled customer who vowed in March of 2015 to do anything he could to have me shut down, or someone who has something against the type of store I own – I cannot dismiss the fact that this is targeted toward me personally.

Has law enforcement been any help with the break ins?

We have identified a handful of potential suspects, but nothing has come of it yet. Law enforcement has increased their patrol of the area and has requested camera footage from nearby businesses pointing down the street toward Torso’s storefront, but no substantial evidence has been collected at this time.

What are your plans now?

Going forward, I plan to focus my efforts on e-commerce order fulfillment and setting up “pop-up shops” at local bars, festivals, and events throughout the country. My retail days in Lexington may be over, but I won’t say I’ll never open another retail store focused on menswear in another large city.  You never know where I’ll end up!

Is the community rallying in support?

My loyal customers and Facebook fans are outraged that the break-in’s have continued, and are all extremely empathetic that I’m forced to put an end to something I’ve worked so hard for. My hope is that same level of support translates to future website orders to ensure a profitable future for Torso Menswear.

Torso Menswear can be found on Facebook or at their website.