Many business ventures require years of planning and mountains of cash that can leave new business owners reeling. But when Joey Newkirk, 27, and Ryan Courtney, 22, took over Joe Clothing, a trendy boutique on Church Street, they said things "just kind of happened."

Newkirk and Courtney were good friends with former Joe Clothing owners Joey Brown and Todd Roman. Newkirk wanted to start his own business and Brown was considering selling Joe. An idle conversation between the two led to serious talk about the business deal.

With some needed funding and advice from their parents, Newkirk and Courtney officially took over Joe Clothing in late July.

“If it wasn’t for them, it would have been very hard,” Newkirk said. “We’re learning the business together.”

Joe Clothing offers a variety of up-scale fashions for men from designers including True Religion, Ed Hardy and Toxic Waste. Newkirk said Joe Clothing will keep its staple men's designers but will make room in the inventory for some women's clothing.

The new owners have already introduced women's clothes from C.Luce to their inventory and are planning to bring in clothes from Miss Sixty and Religion.

Newkirk said the edgy, downtown shop will also feature some of Nashville's smaller designers such as Jamie Kelly. Courtney, who studied design at the International Academy of Design and Technology in Nashville, is considering debuting some of his own designs at the store in the future, Newkirk said.

As one of Nashville's young couples "on-the-move," Newkirk and Courtney hope their extensive network of friends in the Nashville scene will help boost business at Joe. Both men worked at a West End clothing boutique for years before taking on this new venture and have several friends who also own Nashville clothing shops.

The couple plans to change the store’s name at the beginning of the new year and hope to eventually expand their business to new locations around the state.

"We're all about bringing it to the next level," Newkirk said.

This article has been republished from Out & About Nashville, and was part of a series of first-person pieces written by the late Bobbi Williams.

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