The shop once known for wacky, custom-design t-shirts and endless gag gifts has transformed into a chic women’s retailer. The new People’s Nation offers college girls clothes for both daytime and nighttime in addition to loads of accessories.
The clothes include trendy pieces such as chunky sweaters, bustier crop tops and high-low skirts. As for accessories, statement necklaces ruled the store but were accompanied by colorful fall scarves and countless clutches. Also available at People’s Nation were Free People clothes.
“We opened up the store last Thursday and everyone loves it,” says owner Art Fine.
Fine said it’s difficult for clothes to stand out in State College as many of the stores are buying from the same distributors. The key to standing out in the mix of downtown retailers is the shopping environment inside the store.
One of the most appealing aspects of People’s Nation is the décor. The accessories were hanging from unique racks and the tops were laid out on rustic tables. Antique-looking benches were also scattered among the store where more clothes were displayed. Additionally, an old wooden cabinet was home to a variety of nail polish colors. Even the fitting room doors were mismatched but had the common rustic and homey inspiration.
All of the creative furniture seen in the store was hand-picked by Fine. He and his wife are antique collectors. While at their second home in New York, they spend time collecting antiques from their favorite secret antique stores. These specially picked pieces are what customers see in People’s Nation.
With a complete makeover and brand identity change, most people would expect the name of the store to change.
“I just loved the name,” Fine says.
Girls will enter People’s Nation with a t-shirt store mindset, but leave confident that it’s a trendy place to buy cute clothes.
Fine has a true passion for not only People’s Nation, but retail and footwear in general. He owns five other State College stores including Metro, Metro Underground, Cheap Thrills, Barefoot and AJ Fine. Fine has made a name for himself and proves to produce stores with a distinct student following.
So if you haven’t yet browsed the racks of People’s Nation, make sure you do. It’s a great addition to the downtown shopping options and has clothes for almost any style and occasion.
Photo by Sam Florio