Local entrepreneur finds success with Hometown Threads

BY JORDAN BROOKS

jordan.brooks@middlesboronews.com

Riley Brock is a young business owner who has filled Hometown Threads with trendy clothing for ladies and children. The grand opening of her business was just three months ago, but Brock says she has found success and a sense of pride in bringing a different type of clothing store to Middlesboro.

Brock says she got her start selling her custom designs at local festivals, which she now continues to sell in the store along with her other merchandise.

“I started doing festivals, and then I find a building, and it turned into this, which is pretty cool,” said Brock. “Like I did the Cumberland Mountain Fall Festival, I did the White Lightning festival, and the Christmas parade.”

“I started making the shirts because I was buying them off of people, and I didn’t want to just keep buying them if I could just do it myself,” said Brock  “And people loved it, it was so good I got to do this.”

Brock also supports her friend Sarah’s small business, Sarah Melton, who sells embroidered shirts, through the store. However, Brock says she did not only want to only sell shirts when she opened, because she wanted to create a space where more people her age could buy clothing.

“There’s not anywhere here for people my age to shop unless we go to Knoxville,” said Brock.

According to Brock, she is in the works of broadening the demographics of the merchandise of her store.

Brock says she found the building Hometown Threads currently resides in one day walking her dog, and fell in love with it.

“I was walking my dog one day and met Jeff Moore, he’s the owner of Jeff’s pharmacy,” said Brock. “Him and his business partner showed me their buildings one day, and this one was my favorite.”

The building itself underwent some fairly heavy renovations before Brock was able to open her doors.

“There were no walls, there was like this hole in the ceiling, and there were places covered up in a tarp,” said Brock. “And I looked at it and I said, ‘Mom, this is the one I want,’”

Despite her mom’s hesitations about the building upon their initial visit, Brock says it was turned into something amazing after the building’s owners, Jeff Moore and Chris Hendrickson, were able to complete renovations.

Brock has found success rapidly in her corner of Main Street, opening earlier this year on Feb 25. With Brock’s business being fairly new, she says she is still learning peak times for her business.

“Lunch and after work is the busiest,” said Brock. Because of this, she says in the summer she has plans to stay open longer.

“I thought it wouldn’t be as good as it has been,” said Brock. “Before I opened I was so scared I was like ‘nobody’s gonna come,’ and I was so terrified, but it’s been awesome.”

Brock owns and operates the store entirely on her own, only at the age of 18, as well as a full time student at Southeast Community College.

“People will come in here sometimes and say ‘are you the owner?’” laughed Brock. “And I don’t know how it was possible but it was God for sure.”

Brock says that one day she hopes to expand her business to a location in Knoxville, but definitely wants to keep her location in Middlesboro. She also says one day she hopes to hire people to help out in the store, since running the store and being a full time student has proven to be a challenge, and she expects that even more so when her in-person classes begin.

Brock spoke to the growth of downtown, and her newfound love of Middlesboro.

“I love seeing the growth and I love seeing the new businesses,” said Brock. “It’s amazing seeing what we can have here if people just try.”

Brock and her unique designs can be found at Hometown Threads, at 2013 W. Cumberland Ave., as well as her friend Sarah Melton’s creations, with @CraftyMamasCreations, as well as so many other great things in her store.