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A Wench in the Gear is set to open this weekend at its new 301 E. Commercial St. home.
Photo courtesy A Wench in the Gear
A Wench in the Gear is set to open this weekend at its new 301 E. Commercial St. home.

Retailer moves to new C-Street home

Posted online

A little more than a year after debuting on Commercial Street, A Wench in the Gear is making a long-term commitment to the north-side historic district.

C.C. Guice, owner and sole employee of the clothing retailer, said she purchased the building at 301 E. Commercial St., with the intent of opening either Friday or Saturday. She declined to disclose the purchase price from Matt M. Miller, noting she was connected to him through Justin Skinner, a Realtor with Keller Williams. Guice now occupies the building, with the closing set for Feb. 1, she said.

It will mark the second home for her shop, which originally opened a block west in November 2018 at 213 W. Commercial St. She vacated the building at the end of her one-year lease with building owner Jina Gorham.

Guice said some customers of her shop, which sells a variety of corsets, hats, jackets, kilts, knitwear and costume-play attire, were concerned she was going out of business upon seeing the West Commercial Street building vacant in November. But it was merely to transfer her inventory into storage temporarily before moving it into her new shop.

“I had the extraordinary opportunity to invest in a building on Commercial Street,” she said, adding she put the word out of her purchasing interest as her lease was ending.

Guice saw the one-year lease as a trial period to see if she would enjoy her first retail venture. She also wanted to discover if Commercial Street would be a good home for the wearable art she designs and handcrafts using repurposed and upcycled materials.

“In that time period, I fell in love with the street,” she said. “I was ready to jump in with both feet and call it home.”

The building formerly housed Uriel’s Unusual Bookstore, which shuttered this fall, according to Springfield Business Journal reporting. At approximately 5,000 square feet, including a second-story loft, the building isn’t going to be entirely occupied by her shop. There are two doors facing Commercial Street, Guice said, with plans to lease the west side of the building. The leasable space will be roughly 1,700 feet, she added.

“I feel like by taking a slightly smaller space and utilizing it properly I’ll be able to make it more accessible to the customer,” she said, adding she loved the building’s placement on the street. “It was a blank slate with great bones.”

Guice estimates she’s spent around $4,000 in renovation costs, saving money by trading out shop clothing in exchange for necessary work, such as new exterior signage. She said additional exterior projects, such as painting, are likely to come in the future. However, she wants to study historical photos to make sure she honors the street’s past before making any changes.

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