William and Wylie, 310 West Jackson Avenue, Knoxville, January 2024
About five years ago, Parker (William) Davis and Bryce Wylie started William and Wylie Custom Men’s Clothing and, soon after, opened a retail store at 211 Clinch Avenue. The tiny space served as a great spot to get started but inevitably as the business grew, the two began the search for a new, larger space. They settled into 310 West Jackson Avenue just before the start of the new year and have now stocked the larger space with lots of new merchandise.
Like so many businesses, they started just a few months before the pandemic and quickly got thrown into an odd situation. Parker said they had supply chain issues and suddenly many of their regulars were no longer in the office. He said, “Weddings helped bridge that gap for us.”
Even in the time since the worst early months of the pandemic, some trends have remained. “There has been more of a shift to more casual . . . like colorful sports coats instead of as many traditional navy and gray suits. A little more of people wanting to dress up to go out to dinner, not purely business attire.” They’ve adapted accordingly, leading them to add “knitwear and even t-shirts and jeans . . . I wanted to be able to dress a guy for any of life’s needs.
After a strange year in 2020, 2021 led to a “flood of weddings,” which gave them an opportunity to dress the grooms in fresh suits and sometimes the male portion of the wedding party. “2022 is when it seemed to go back to what felt more normal.” He said weddings, which got more informal, now seem to be shifting once more in a traditional direction.
Parker said the other space always seemed a bit small for some of the things they do, like showing customers a range of fabrics. Now they have a nice table with room for several to sit and look at samples. “We were always hovering over the tie table or I would be stacking books up in people’s laps as they sat in the chairs.”
While he said it was never their goal to have a large inventory, they recognize that guys need some other types of attire. “People need white or blue dress shirts, or a good dark jean for going out. Some of those things people need right away. Since we had more room here, it made sense to provide some of that.
Knoxville Fine Violins which had the small space adjacent to theirs had expressed interest in taking over their space for an expansion and as they needed more space, they looked around the area. “We came across this space and we always wanted to be nearby, and to stay downtown if we could.” He said he feels they fill a void downtown and he loves the short commute from just across the river.
They have more off-the-rack clothing in the store, but they also do a significant amount of catalog ordering for customers. The jeans and t-shirts are higher-end fabrics and have a tailored-type fit. The jeans can be altered.
Parker says he enjoys the business and they’ve developed a good base of customers and the business has grown by word-of-mouth. They are open from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm Monday through Friday, but Parker is happy to take an appointment outside those hours or days. In addition to fittings in the store, he’s willing to meet customers at their office or in their homes. He’s also gone into homes for wardrobe consultations, looking through the clothes a person owns and giving suggestions of what might work with it.
“I always try to keep in mind what use someone can get out of a garment. I don’t want to pump out hard-to-wear sports coats that get worn twice. I want clothes that people can wear regularly and get a lot of good use out of.”
Drop in and check out the new digs. If it works better for you, make an appointment via the website or call (865)690-5805.