boldSOCKS opens first store downtown

boldSOCKS, a new shop that only sells socks, opened their doors to the public for the first time on Friday, Dec. 4, following their first look on Small Business Saturday on Nov. 28 of this year.

This specialty shop sells over 200 kinds of socks. The majority of their wares are designed for men because socks are seen as a unique way for men to express themselves in the corporate world, but there is also a good variety for women as well. These socks are also popular for groomsmen in weddings.

According to their website, boldSOCKS.com, other than providing sophisticated socks, they strive to “bring glory to God” in their business, time and resources to “never sacrifice quality for profit or margin” and to “have fun selling socks.”

The company provides socks for every season and occasion. Customers can search for the perfect sock according to thickness, style, color, pattern or boldness.

Various thicknesses for the socks include the following: lightest, lightweight, everyday, heavyweight and heaviest, and the styles range from no show to knee-high. The colors include exotic options like sangria, midnight and crimson, or you can stick to a solid color or multicolor. The patterns are a more common choice and include striped, checkered and plaid.

Last, but not least, the boldness factor of their designs comes in three degrees. Feeling fashionable? If so, stick to the bold socks. These socks include patterns like stripes, solid colors, simple designs and polka dots. Choose the Navy Star Constellation, Yellow Blue Grey Stripe or a simple solid color.

If you’re feeling courageous, try the bolder socks, like the Blue Rain and Umbrellas or the Red Video Game Controller, which are described as stylish and fun.

Feeling audacious? Check out the boldest sock to make a statement. Choose the Green Blue Peacock or the Spaceship Launch.

Socks typically sell for $8-14 and are as low as $5 on clearance.

People “will come [to Grand Rapids] much like big cities like Chicago if there are cool independent shops. And I think that’s at the heart of what we want to do,” stated owner Ryan Roff, a Calvin grad, in an interview by Fox 17.

The idea for boldSOCKS came about when co-workers Adam Whitmore and Ryan Preisner began to wonder why they always had to wear plain, simple and boring socks to work. As a joke, they started to wear fun, cool socks. They realized that it was a challenge to find a variety of cool socks online and this realization grew into the creation of boldSOCKS.

boldSOCKS started as an online-based company in 2011. Though the store was not an instant success, over the last four years, the business has been steadily growing and has now more than doubled its revenue every year and is currently one of the premier sock websites in the U.S., according to the press release sent out by boldSOCKS in late November. With business now booming, the owners decided it was time to open a physical store. boldSOCKS is run by a team of four guys: Ryan Preisner, CEO and founder; Ryan Roff, owner and creative and marketing director; Dan Manshaem, web marketing and co-founder; and Adam Whitmore, forecasting and co-founder.

Not only does boldSOCKS bring style to the community, but it also helps the Grand Rapids economy thrive. “There’s this idea that small businesses fuel our economy especially with retail sectors in downtown Grand Rapids,” adds Roff.

Their new space, which consists of 1,100 square feet, is located at 17 S. Division Ave in downtown Grand Rapids. They recently signed the lease here and decided to make the store a pop-up shop with only using 600 square feet being used for the store as a part of the revitalization on South Division known as Avenue of the Arts. While they originally planned for the store to only be briefly open as a small pop-up shop for the holidays, the boldSOCKS team later determined that it would be helpful for continuity to stay open longer, so after the holidays, they plan to make the space into a permanent store and stay open throughout the winter.

“We are excited to be part of the efforts to bring small, local retailers to downtown Grand Rapids. We love seeing the vibrancy of major cities that have a retail sector and hope S. Division can continue to grow and transform the city,” Roff said in the November press release.

The shop is set up like an art gallery. Socks are divided into categories based on their features. There are many brands including popular ones such as Stance and Happy Socks. Other brands include Argoz, Ballonet and Pact.

The parent company of boldSOCKS, Bold Endeavors, established the brands boldSOCKS and Statement Sockwear. The boldSOCKS brand mainly consists of solid color socks although a few feature socks are offered. These socks are popular for groomsmen in weddings. Statement Sockwear is known for providing one person in Africa with access to 100 days of clean drinking water for each pair of socks sold.

Until December 18, boldSOCKS will be offering holiday hours: Monday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., and after Dec. 18, the store will open from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m