Beyond the breadbox: RRUS & Co. makes temporary move for improvements

Published 12:05 am Sunday, July 10, 2016

VIDALIA — A temporary move will enable a Vidalia boutique to expand its interior space and upgrade its exterior to be one of the first businesses to adopt Vidalia’s new development codes.

RRUS & Co. in Vidalia has temporarily relocated to 1109 Carter St., Suite 6, so that the store’s 1011 Carter St. location can be expanded.

“We have been open eight-and-a-half years, and everybody in the area has been so good and supportive of us that we have kind of outgrown the place,” owner Una Knapp said.

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“We’re going to go out toward the front — Carter Street — because we are landlocked and we can’t go any farther than the church next door. We are going refurbish the parking lot as well, and it will hopefully be more eye-appealing.”

Owner Ricky Knapp said the new design on the front of the building will “test the waters on the new (city building) codes as for sure.” The new development codes — which are intended to improve the city’s appearance over time by raising aesthetic standards for new construction — were adopted in April 2015.

“The architect familiarized herself thoroughly with the new codes, so we are going to come in maybe above standards. We are going to have maybe one of the best-looking buildings in the area,” Ricky said.

“It’s going to have a brick front, and we are going to use Hardie board on the back side of it. It is also going to have some really ornate metal awnings and lighting, and it will be really decorative as well.”

Ricky said RRUS & Co. would be tearing out the asphalt currently in front of the building and adding a green space with landscaping on the front and the side, another of the code requirements.

“It is going to be very eye-catching,” he said.

Una said once the renovations are complete, the business will take down its tall sign and instead have it attached to the building.

Overall, passers-by will find it much more visually appealing, she said.

“I want something that Vidalia, Natchez, everybody around will be proud of, that everybody can say, ‘We have this cool little building in our town,’” Una said.

“The outside just looked like a painted breadbox, and while I get a lot of out-of-town people, I think with the new look it will get a lot more traffic, and I want people who are from here to say, ‘Yeah, that is our boutique, our building.’”

While the store will get a facelift on the outside, the inside the store will have more retail space just by raising the ceilings, Una said.

“There are parts where I don’t even have eight-foot ceilings, and that really limits where I can put my merchandise,” she said. “I am going to have 12- foot ceilings, and that will help clear up some of that issue.”

In the meantime, the temporary location will be smaller but is continuing to receive new merchandise, Una said.

The move to the temporary location was made over the July 4 holiday weekend, and it opened July 5.

“It was a lot of hard work,” Una said. “I’ve got the best employees, and they worked late at night helping with the transition.”

Ricky said he hopes the renovations at 1101 Carter St., will be complete by October and the business can move back in at that time.