If you have never done aromatherapy, then for just a minute join me to play this game. Close your eyes and allow your brain to sensualize these smells; fine finished leather, virgin wool, silk, waxed cotton, oiled walnut, exotic solvents and oils, crisp ironed cotton, British tweed, 100 percent natural rubber, heavy duty khaki, cashmere, lambswool and mahogany. If you inhale strong enough you might even catch a hint of a scented candle, European colognes and perfume, and maybe even a whiff of an Arturo Fuente, but that might just be wishful thinking.
Funny thing about smells is that they obviously have to originate from something tangible. At Circle Seven Outpost & Provisions in Madison all these olfactory senses and more can be experienced firsthand. Located on Highway 463, 1.2 miles west of Interstate 55 at Exit 108 on the corner of Mannsdale Park Drive, Circle Seven is something beyond unique in Mississippi. Their merchandise simply has to be seen, smelled, handled, inspected, adored, appreciated and coveted.
Family values business foundation
When Circle Seven owner Will Pace was in high school in Monticello, he worked in the local hardware and feed store operated by Gus Wall and his two sons. It was a family business and every customer was treated like family. “It was an old grocery store and it had their comfortable personality throughout. People would come in and have a seat and visit off and on during the day. A contractor might come in for building supplies and an old man that could not sign his name to the ticket might come in for 50 pounds of chops. They were all welcome and enjoyed the company just the same,” explained Pace.
“I set out to make a comfortable store and different retail environment. People still want an experience when they shop or buy something. A good smell you remember or a feel of leather, music, or an old chair that was always right there to enjoy. We tried to gear that in a “lodge” camp style,” Pace continued. The Circle Seven retail experience is all that and more.
“I feel like in any business you serve people first, money comes in and money goes out. If you want to skimp on anything, it better be the later. That’s pretty universal I think but easier said than done. I chose this venue because I enjoy it very much and can live it everyday.”
Also of note is that the Circle Seven store is pretty much run by family members. Pace’s sister, Marita, “runs things here” at the store. Her daughter works there as do other nieces and nephews especially during holidays. There are three other employees as well. This family environment is a big factor in what makes this specialized business successful.
Premium products highlight stock
Targeting an upscale clientele even in Mississippi requires the stocking of recognized worldwide brands, many of which are not dinner table mentions around most of the Magnolia State. But then, that was Pace’s whole idea. He did not want the ordinary that everyone else had. Even good brands like Browning or Remington were for other venues, not Circle Seven.
“Our target market is anyone that appreciates well-made goods and or the heritage in the brands they buy. We sell nationwide and even as far away as Japan. I chose our main product lines because they represent the best in traditional outdoor clothing and accessories. Others because they represent good value,” says Pace.
“No one ever dreams of owning the cheapest one day. It’s hard to appreciate the absolute cheapest anything. The best, on the other hand, and all that goes into it is another story. There is pride in craftsmanship, tradition, and an inherent, enduring quality. Our three most upscale brands are consistently the best sellers, even in a down economic cycle,” Will said.
The major brands of Circle Seven include Alden shoes of the world’s finest top grain leathers; Barbour, the iconic British lifestyle brand established in 1894 in South Shields, England; Filson of Seattle, born of the Klondike gold rush; Purdey, better known for their shotguns, but offering exceptional clothing designs; Ibex, Le Chameau, Mountain Khakis, Woolrich, Irish Setter, Cloudveil, among other labels. Essentially Circle Seven has assembled stocks of the best of the best in outdoors clothing for both the field and the board room.
The feel of old country
From the modern exterior of the building on 463 where Circle Seven sits one would never guess the demeanor of the interior atmosphere or the feeling one gets carefully strolling around the well appointed displays. Circle Seven’s aura is part antique shop, Shropshire country manor, along with an old London quarters haberdashery all rolled into upgraded presentations of clothing, dry goods and accessories with a very pleasant, comforting feel for turn of the century home furnishings.
By no means is it stodgy or stuffy. It’s — homey. The only thing the shop might need to finish the course in my humble opinion is a well-mannered black Labrador or perhaps a Brittney Spaniel or two to greet the customers. That would certainly add a defining touch.
Oh, and the name Circle Seven? “The name came from the fact that I come from a family of seven children and the circle represents my mother and father that holds us all together,” Pace replied. Quaint? Indeed it is. Drop by or check them out on www.circle7 online.com.
Keep them in mind, too for your special Christmas shopping. Will added, “We will have some Christmas open house events with good food and fun late night shopping.” That sure makes me want to don my Filson coat, new Irish Setter boots and some sleigh bells.