Old Lexington Dispatch-News building to become boutique

By Natalie Szrajer
Posted 1/2/24

The former home of Lexington’s oldest newspaper at 136 E. Main St. will cater to a new clientele as The Kindred Boutique.

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Old Lexington Dispatch-News building to become boutique


The former home of Lexington’s oldest newspaper at 136 E. Main St. will cater to a new clientele as The Kindred Boutique.

The store hopes to move into the vacant building later this year. The building formerly housed The Lexington Dispatch-News, which was founded in 1870 and would later merge with The Lexington County Chronicle. 

The storefront neighbors the former Lexington Jewelers locations, which now houses a health store, Deep Rooted Nutrition. It had been vacant since 2001.

Boutique owners Karen Norman, Christie Connelly and Dinah Morganelli say there is a lot of work to be done, but they hope to be open by the summer.

Kindred is currently located in the Old Mill, with the owners saying they are eager to move down Main Street and have more room for inventory and storage. Norman and Connelly are the faces of the boutique, while Morganelli focuses on the behind-the-scenes aspects of the store. 

The women’s retail store “started in August 2017 as a closet business,” said Norman. 

Norman and Connelly recall sitting on the floor of a walk-in closet with four other friends with their first major order and launching on Instagram. 

Before eventually moving into their current location, they did pop-ups around town and relied on social media livestreams to build up their business geared toward young women. Now they ship all over the country, Norman said. 

While their main clientele are younger women in high school, college and their 20s, they do have a little something for everyone, and they’re constantly growing their clientele. Their business has grown even through the 2020 pandemic, the owners said, explaining that while people weren’t able to shop in person, customers could pick up.

“Our customers wanted to help us,” Norman said.

“We’re grateful the community has allowed us to grow,” she added. “It’s turned into full-time jobs for both of us. Before we volunteered and were stay-at-home moms.”

Even though Norman and Connelly were former stay-at-home moms, they had marketing degrees from college and retail experience prior to launching Kindred. Norman used to manage The Gap in Charlotte and even worked at the former Tapp’s in Columbia.

Connelly recalled coordinating and playing with clothes as a child and having a love for fashion early on. In addition to buying clothes, they also enjoy getting to know the customers and playing personal stylist for people. 

“Our customers have become our friends,” Connelly said. “When they come in, we’ll pull items and try to help them fit their body type. We help guide them.”
“People in society feel defeated but we tell them you can be pretty like you. We have a little for everyone,” Norman enthused.

The store carries sizes extra-small to extra-large sizes as well as an array of shoes and accessories. The ladies explained they try and keep their prices reasonable while still carrying high quality items explaining people sometimes hear the word boutique and think items are out of their budget. 

While having fun with fashion is exciting for the owners and comes naturally to them, they admit technology and outsmarting the social media algorithms can be a bit tricky.

“The hardest thing for us was the technology part,” said Norman. 

Connelly added, “The algorithms on social media and competing” in fashion can be difficult at times especially as fashion constantly changes.

“We have our own niche, our own style,” Connelly added. “Our goal is to have everyone leave with a smile on their face.”

The goal of their store mixes with their name, The Kindred. 

They were “sitting around the table and throwing our names. Because we were all friends we were kindred spirits,” Connelly said. 

“Most people want the same thing and that is to find joy and connection with others,” said Norman.

The Kindred boutique is online at thekindredboutique.com and has accounts on Instagram, Facebook and TikTok. They are currently located at 711 E. Main St., Ste. G.

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