Duluth Trading Co. will occupy more than half the retail space at 111 Whiskey Row. | Photo by Caitlin Bowling

Wisconsin-based retailer Duluth Trading Co., which describes itself as “a rapidly growing lifestyle brand for the modern, self-reliant American,” is opening a store in the heart of downtown Louisville.

The company is the first announced tenant in the 111 Whiskey Row development, a $30-million mixed-use development that includes 24,200 square feet of retail space and 19,200 square feet of office space. The development spans 111-115 W. Main St.

Duluth Trading Co. will take up 15,000 square feet of the retail space at 111 Whiskey Row, according to a news release. The store is expected to open in late 2017.

The company sells men’s and women’s clothing as well as accessories and caters to people who like to be active. Duluth Trading Co. often uses humor to sell its products. For example, pitching its long tail T-Shirts as solutions to “Plumber’s Butt.”

“We are incredibly excited to welcome Duluth Trading as Downtown Louisville’s first major retail establishment in historic Whiskey Row. This is going to be the most exciting block in the city,” Valle Jones, founder of commercial real estate development company Mayin LLC and partner in the development, said in the release. “Within a couple of years, this block will also have three hotels, a major tourist attraction in the form of the Old Forester Distillery, over 50 apartments, and over 12 restaurants.”

Louisville-based TRIO Commercial Property Group is leasing the space on behalf of the investors in the 111 Whiskey Row project. CBRE‘s Louisville office represented Duluth Trading Co. in the deal.

The named investors are Jones; preservationist Edie Bingham; Nina Bonnie, founder of the Kentucky Horse Park Foundation; local investor and philanthropist Christina Brown; Craig Greenberg, a founding partner of 21c Museum Hotel; and Steve Wilson, also a founding partner of 21c Museum Hotel.

The project’s investors also hope to include a couple of restaurants in the development, which will feature 12 studio and one-bedroom apartments.

Work on 111 Whiskey Row is expected to wrap up in June 2017; the completion date was delayed after a fire damaged the three historic buildings that were being renovated

The opening of a large clothing retailer downtown is a landmark in the growth of downtown, which has seen major investments recently, including the Omni Hotel Louisville construction, the Kentucky International Convention Center renovation and multiple luxury apartment projects.

“The announcement that Duluth Trading Co. is coming to Main Street represents another positive step for the resurgence of downtown and Whiskey Row,” Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer said in the release.  “Our downtown is vibrant and growing.”

Louisville has not had a large retailer downtown in a couple of decades since the decline of the Galleria in the mid- to late 1990s. The Galleria once housed a Dillard’s and The Limited, among other stores.

Caitlin Bowling
Louisville native Caitlin Bowling has covered the local restaurant and retail scene since 2014. After graduating from the Ohio University’s E.W. Scripps School of Journalism, Caitlin got her start at a newspaper in the mountains of North Carolina where she won multiple state awards for her reporting. Since returning to Louisville, she’s written for Business First and Insider Louisville, winning awards for health and business reporting and becoming a go-to source for business news. In addition to restaurants and retail business, Caitlin covers real estate, economic development and tourism. Email Caitlin at [email protected]