Saturday, January 29, 2011
But 26-year-old twin sisters Ani and Ali Tucker desired to bring their business to their native city, so instead of Louisville, The Dandy Lion launched in August at 310 Bank St. in downtown New Albany.
“This has always been my dream — to come here while downtown was developing,” Ani Tucker said during a ribbon-cutting ceremony marking the early success of the business this week.
“We couldn’t be happier — we want to be here forever.”
Infinitely in terms of downtown, as Ali Tucker said they hope to be so successful they’ll one day need to expand or find a larger building.
The Dandy Lion focuses on local artists and products, which Ali Tucker said sets the business apart from other specialty shops in Southern Indiana as well as Louisville.
“Our mission is anti-mass production,” she said. “We’re all about small, independent designers.”
The Tuckers were born and raised in New Albany. Ali received a Bachelors degree of Art in Philosophy from Indiana University Southeast, and Ani graduated from Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia with a Bachelors degree of Fine Art in Fashion Design.
She was featured on the TLC reality television show “Say Yes to the Dress: Atlanta,” and was co-owner of a similar boutique in Athens, Ga., before moving back to New Albany to open The Dandy Lion.
The sisters incorporate their varying passions into their work, which is also featured at The Dandy Lion. Ali Tucker molds jewelry and fine art, while Ani designs clothes, hats, bags and shoes.
Their interest and creativity forms the store, as Ani Tucker said The Dandy Lion is pretty much forged with upcycled, found objects.
The name The Dandy Lion was derived from the sisters’ admiration of the vintage word dandy, and the fact their Zodiac sign is Leo, which in Latin means lion.
The shop brings diversity to downtown which is what the city needs, Realtor and Develop New Albany member Mike Kopp said.
“We continue to have an interest down here, and a push toward more retail,” he said.
Kopp helped the Tuckers find the spot for The Dandy Lion, and the owners said business has been good so far.
“We just saw the potential that was already here,” Ani Tucker said.
They see their role in the community as being more than just retailers because The Dandy Lion has sponsored events and concerts. The business has organized a Valentine’s dance Feb. 12, themed Lincoln in Love in honor of the late president’s birthday.
The event is a cooperative effort at Dave Thrasher’s Art Store.
A boutique like The Dandy Lion compliments downtown restaurants by providing customers options so they can shop and eat in the same area, Mayor Doug England said.
He credited the sisters for investing in their home city.
“It’s been our local people — our local people making downtown work,” England said.
The Dandy Lion is open Tuesday through Thursday, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday. The store’s phone number is 812-944-9477.
Posted by The Dandy Lion at 4:19 PM