The vegan merchandise at Kerin was sustainable, but the business may not be.
Just 10 months after opening at the intersection of York and Elm streets, the clothes are nowhere to be found, there’s a small, red step ladder in the middle of the floor and all that can be seen through the windows are the mannequins huddled in a corner. The day before, “50% off everything” banners plastered the windows.
Kerin’s owners did not respond to request for comment.
The store opened in November 2009 and the owners told the News at the time that they wanted to provide New Haven shoppers with stylish, eco-friendly alternatives to regular clothing. Chris Kerin, who owns the store with his wife Andrea, said he was inspired to create the store because, as a vegan, he often had trouble finding clothing free of animal products.
The Kerins said New Haven was the ideal location for their boutique because of its proximity to Yale, ranked the fourth most vegetarian-friendly university in the U.S. according to PETA.
Travis Helms DIV ’13 said he is very interested in sustainable living and consumption but has never shopped at Kerin and, as a new student, did not know New Haven had a vegan clothing store. If Kerin stays open, he said he would definitely consider checking it out, but added that he might not buy anything because sustainable merchandise is usually expensive.
According to Kerin’s website, women’s dresses start at $121.00 and most women’s shoes cost over $99.00. Men’s ties and shoes respectively cost over $82.00 and $39.50. T- shirts for both sexes ranged in price from $22.99 to $93.00.
“I didn’t know [Kerin] was eco-friendly; I just thought it was an overpriced shoe store,” said Nancy Hite GRD ’11.
Of eight students interviewed, none were aware that Kerin sold eco-friendly merchandise, and six of the students had never been in the store.
“Students rarely shop for clothing in New Haven because the stores are usually more expensive,” Graham Hardt ’11 said, adding that students he knows prefer to shop at malls than in New Haven.
Abigail Rider, director of University Properties, which leases the space, did not return to requests for comment.
It remains to be seen what will become of the retail space occupied by Kerin.