It’s no secret that Downtown Saratoga and Saratoga Race Course are centers of summer fashion—in most cases by and for women. But not to fret, Saratoga gentlemen; you’re about to get your own go-to place. On Friday, July 19, Union Hall Supply Co. will open its doors at 437 Broadway to offer a unique retail experience for men in the market for quality and high-end, modern menswear, saratoga living has learned. In addition to an expansive clothing selection, this new, locally owned store will also boast plenty of lounging and relaxation space—and even a craft beer tasting room in the back.
Given its target audience, it might surprise you who is bringing Union Hall to market. “I come into contact, daily, with men in my other two stores,” says Heidi West, owner of Lifestyles and Caroline & Main, two women’s clothing stores in Saratoga, and now Union Hall. “I really just listened to what they wanted, and men want their own space where they can feel comfortable and look their best.” This informed West’s thinking about how to redesign and renovate the space, which since 2013 had been occupied by Alexis Aida Boutique. “I didn’t want to fill it with all shiny, retail fixtures that you can buy online,” says West. “I wanted to create interesting pieces of history with our design choices, and it just feels more authentic that way, because these are items and furnishings that have lived a life of their own.”
The soon-to-be-opened menswear store is named after Saratoga’s historic Grand Union Hotel, which for years was known for its elite and elegant events (until it was demolished in 1953). Like its namesake, Union Hall will lean heavily on its experiential offerings. The store will invite guests to come in and relax on one of its many large leather chairs; or explore its built-in bookcases (made of vintage crates) with plenty of books and other fun accessories available for use. Perhaps coolest of all, however, is the cooper-wrapped bar (you can’t miss it under the neon sign) where West says patrons will be able to taste-test a select sampling of local craft beers. “My thought process is that it’s about the experience,” says West. “Men buy certain things for that same experience that women shop around for.” Speaking of which, let’s not forget the apparel. Similar to West’s other stores, Union Hall will offer brands that emphasize charity and sustainable practices. Some of those featured brands will include Duke Cannon, Brass & Unity, 34Heritage Denim, Rails and Jack Black.
Born and raised in Saratoga, West has more than three decades of experience in fashion retail. A graduate of the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City (and of SUNY Albany), West launched her first successful boutique, Lifestyles, in 1992 followed by Caroline & Main in 2016, both of which offer women’s apparel. About the switch to men’s fashion after so long, West seems totally unfazed. “When Lifestyles first opened, it actually sold men, women and children’s clothing,” she says. “So I’ve been doing this for a long time.”
Though Union Hall is opening for business tomorrow, it won’t have its official grand opening until early August. For that event, West is planning on creating a lounge space on Broadway right in front of the store with big leather chairs and marquee lights. Expect lots of great giveaways, including what West calls the store’s “six-pack” giveaway (with purchase): an assortment of six different items that typify the theme of the store, including a cap and branded t-shirt. Also look forward to free samples from the store’s tasting bar in addition to, of course, an official ribbon-cutting ceremony. “We’re always trying to create a neat experience,” says West about the upcoming grand opening. “I just want to make a space here that sparks interest and enjoyment.”