Rivercity Apparel closing North Chattanooga store after nearly 27 years

Staff Photo by Dave Flessner / Rivercity Apparel at 36 Frazier Ave. in North Chattanooga is selling out its inventory and preparing to close. The women's boutique shop has operated since 1997.

One of the oldest women's clothing stores in North Chattanooga is selling out its merchandise and preparing to soon close.

After nearly 27 years of operating a storefront along Frazier Avenue, Rivercity Apparel launched a store closeout sale last week, and store owner Ann Kemmerer said the boutique shop will shut down once it sells out its remaining items.

"Everything is marked down, and we're going to be here until it is gone," Kemmerer said in a telephone interview. "I'm at a point in my life where I'm ready to do something else with more flexibility in my schedule."

Founded in 1997, Rivercity Apparel is a family-run boutique operating in a 2,000-square-foot leased storefront at 36 Frazier Ave.

Kemmerer took over the business from her parents, David and Jane Kemmerer, who bought what had previously been an outlet for product overruns and surplus clothing items for men, women and children. The Kemmerers shifted Rivercity Apparel to a women's boutique fashion line, offering unique apparel from a variety of designers.

"I think we have always had a great price point that was affordable and attractive to buyers of all ages," Ann Kemmerer said. "But Frazier Avenue is not what it once was."

Kemmerer said the pandemic hurt sales for several years, and like many boutiques, Rivercity Apparel sales have yet to return to their pre-pandemic levels.

The planned closing of Rivercity Apparel is coming just four months after Backstreet Betty's closed across the street in July after operating on Frazier Avenue for the past seven years. But a sign on the shuttered Backstreet Betty's indicates a new business known as Bento-Ya is planning to soon open at 111 Frazier Ave.

Contact Dave Flessner at dflessner@timesfreepress.com or 423-757-6340.