Talking “The Shop at Main” with Katie Wallace as Wellsville’s new hybrid retail adventure has a bright future


Sisters have dreamt up a futuristic business model, Wellsville falls in love

By Andrew Harris

On the west side of Main Street Wellsville, near the former Elliott’s Bakery and Hamilton Shoes, a ladies retail store has become a very big deal.

In an age when physical retail storefronts seem to be a disappearing, Katie Wallace and her business-minded family are really onto something.

“The Shop at Main,” started as a typical clothing and gift retailer, supported by a strong online presence. The store was popular and doing well, until Wallace had a dream of an in-store cafe. In just a few months, the store was a coffee bar, smoothie destination, and retail outlet for a nearby bakery called Chelsea’s.

One of the best things about this story is that the owner, Chelsea Burdick, and Katie Wallace are sisters!! The Shop at Main and Chelsea’s Catering and Confections are only about 500 hundred feet apart, separated by Main Street.

The genius of the collaboration is a great Wellsville success story and we had to ask Wallace a few questions:

Sun: The Shop at Main is a pretty new store still, when did you open ?

KW: I started selling clothes of my house in 2017, I just expanded to our 89 North Main Street location in November of 2021. 

Getting shoppers off the internet and into the store is now a universal challenge for retailers.  How do you overcome that challenge?  Do you also sell online ?

KW: I started out as an online boutique only. Since expanding to brick and mortar in 2021, we host monthly events in store to bring new and existing shoppers in.

We have sip and shop events, in store only specials and other monthly open house events. We also go live every Thursday night with brand new inventory from our shopping app and Facebook. You can download our app on Google play or ios(The Shop At Main) Check out the online store or connect on Facebook

What are some of the most popular items in the store?

KW: Our wide variety of affordable women’s clothing, hand crafted Myra bags and Brumate drink ware are very popular. 

 \When did the idea of a hybrid operation come to you?  Is this common in the retail space ?

KW: I had a dream eight weeks ago and the next week, we started building it! I don’t think it’s very common, but it definitely should be!

What role did your big sister play in putting this together ?

KW: My sister has owned her cafe for 11 years, my mother owned her own bar/restaurant for over 20 years, my aunt Kathy owned her own construction company for many years. All of them have been my inspiration. I knew instantly that Chelsea would be on board with this new adventure because she loves baking, and as always, she’s knocked it out of the park! 

My father Dave helped bring my vision to life in two short weeks! 

Chelsea and Katie with friends

You are also a registered nurse at Jones Memorial ?  How do you make this work?  Do you sleep ?

KW: I am a per diem registered nurse so I have a flexible schedule.  I do help as often as I am able to. Yes, I get a full 5 hours of sleep a night!

Do you think a retail hybrid model is the way of the future for small town retail ?

KW: Absolutely I do, it brings in so many new customers that would maybe never come in if I was just a boutique. It had been incredible thus far. 

Main Street Wellsville is poised to make a big comeback.  Have you thought about what other businesses, or hybrid businesses might be a great fit for downtown ?

KW: There are many things we are missing, but you really just need to find a void and fill, and be prepared to work your butt off. Small businesses in Allegany County are not easy, but definitely worth it if you’re willing to put in the time and effort. 

When you are downtown Wellsville next, stop into The Shop on Main to see this new chapter in retail for yourself. If Chelsea’s is open go grab some lunch!!

Sisters at work
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