Upper Echelon Boutique open for business in Valley View Mall

Opening inspired by Roanoke's business summit

ROANOKE, Va. – A local business owner is climbing the ladder of success just a few weeks after Melvin Davis attended Mayor Sherman Lea's first business summit.
It's just one of the success stories from the May event at the Goodwill Training Center. The goal was to lay out all the steps needed to make opening a small business in Roanoke easier.

Davis, two months ago, listened to advice from various city leaders on how to grow and move his business into a new phase.
From the business summit hosted by Mayor Sherman Lea, Davis and his store manager were greatly influenced.

"It made me not have fear. Because it's more clientele here and it's more money here,"  Davis said.

Weeks after the unofficial opening, customers are already buying clothes and walking out with shopping bags. The Upper Echelon Boutique is a new tenant in Valley View Mall.

Davis, city leaders and mall staff celebrated with a ribbon-cutting Friday.

"At that time I met with them, we didn't have any vacancies space available. Which was fortunate for us. Then a few weeks later we had a tenant that was not able to renew their lease. So I gave them a call and that's when the negotiation started as far as the new space here," Michael Sledd, the mall leasing manager said.

Mayor Sherman Lea says he's proud to see this day became a reality.
He used his business summit to encourage entrepreneurs like Davis in the Star City.

"We're very much appreciative of Melvin for making the investment in Roanoke. He could have build up his business anywhere but he put it right here, Roanoke, and in Valley View Mall," Lea said.

Davis says his boutique stands out from others in the area.

"We have things you can only get here. The people that are famous are ordering from us to wear at their functions. So this is going to be a platform for the city of Roanoke," Davis said.

Upper Echelon also supports local designers by selling their clothes in its boutique. Once on Williamson Road, the move for Davis, he says, will be worth it.

"Anything you want to do, you can actually do it. Just go forward. Really go hard and go for it," Davis said.

And Davis says he's thankful for the support of city leaders and he's looking to continued growth.