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Running Princess, The Clothes Tree win state awards
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Running Princess, The Clothes Tree win state awards

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Two Corvallis businesses — both on Madison Avenue — have won downtown revitalization awards from the Oregon Main Street program, which is part of the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department.

Running Princess Apparel, 351 S.W. Madison Ave., was named the best new business. The Clothes Tree, 204 S.W. Madison Ave., was honored for the best façade improvement.

The awards were announced during a celebration in Astoria on Thursday.

Running Princess Apparel

Running Princess Apparel opened in May in downtown Corvallis. The female-centric fitness clothing company was only selling T-shirts, hats and visors online until Lu An Carone-Rhodes purchased the business.

She decided to open up the downtown store and also realty expanded the offerings. A hot seller remains the signature tiara visors, however.

“I am honored and thrilled to receive this award,” Carone-Rhodes said.

Sheri Stuart, Oregon Main Street coordinator, said that Running Princess Apparel was a wonderful addition to downtown Corvallis. “Not only have they created a warm and inviting environment, but they have created new jobs and are bringing new customers to the district,” she added.

The business also created walking groups that start at the store and wind through downtown, and is in the process of trying to create health and fitness workshops and classes at the store.

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The best new business award for Running Princess is the second in a row for the mid-Willamette Valley. Last year, the Natty Dresser in downtown Albany was named the best new downtown business. The Natty Dresser also won the best interior renovation award last year.

The Clothes Tree

The façade of The Clothes Tree was improved as part of a two-year $300,000 renovation project at the store.

The building that houses The Clothes Tree was originally constructed in 1880 to house a branch of the U.S. National Bank. The Clothes Tree opened on the site in 1964, after a major renovation the previous year.

The recent façade renovation included removal of the 1960s era sign and other restoration work. Metal cornices and pilaster caps were added to the building to take the façade back to an earlier time period, and the canopy was wrapped in a black metal, among other touches.

While the new sign may be the first change to catch the eyes of customers walking downtown, a 7-foot-tall replica of a U.S. National Bank clock hangs on the exterior of the storefront as a symbol of tradition and history.

Nicole Nystrom, owner of The Clothes Tree, said that she was inspired by seeing historic photographs of the building and wanted to return the structure to something she thought would be timeless and more appropriate with the historic downtown concept.

Lori Stephens of Broadleaf Architecture was in charge of the project.

Stuart said the renovation has a major visual impact on downtown Corvallis.

“Above and beyond the thoughtful restoration process in this case is the economic impact on the district. The owner has seen increased traffic and is attracting new clientele. That’s exactly what we hope to achieve in our main street communities,” Stuart added.

Kyle Odegard can be reached at kyle.odegard@lee.net, 541-812-6077 or via Twitter @KyleOdegard.

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