Fashion retailer Life Is Good expands to downtown Chattanooga

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Photo of Dave Flessner / Roy and Jacqui Gress appear with smiling snowman Jake at the new Life is Good store at 411 Broad Street in downtown Chattanooga.

Roy and Jacqui Gress opened a fashion store known as Mountain Vibes in St. Elmo last year amid the COVID-19 pandemic that has hit many retail stores.

Although they ultimately decided to close their St. Elmo store and try another business, the Gresses remain optimistic about their future and Chattanooga, where they moved from Florida five years ago.

“We have visited Chattanooga almost every fall for 20 years and have fallen in love with this city and all it has to offer,” said Roy Gress.

This spirit of trust and joy is reflected in Les Gresses’ new business, the Life is Good fashion store which opened last week in downtown Chattanooga.

“We think of ourselves as optimists and we’ve always loved the phrase ‘life is good’ and the company has been built on that name,” said Gress. “Life is hard – it is not perfect. But life is good, even through Covid.”

Last Friday, the Gresses opened their 1,200 square foot Life is Good store at 411 Broad Street. The Chattanooga store is the second Life is Good brand store in Tennessee and one of 46 such stores nationwide.

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Photo by Dave Flessner / The new 1,200 square foot Life is Good fashion store opened last week on Broad Street in downtown Chattanooga

Life is Good stores, as well as other outlets and the company’s online store selling the branded products, carry a variety of hats, t-shirts, fashion clothes and even chairs, Tote bags, mugs and pet items displaying the “Life is Good” motto. The store’s popular 100% cotton shirts typically sell for $ 28 each, while hats cost around $ 25.

Life is Good was founded in Boston in 1994 by brothers Bert and John Jacobs to inspire people to celebrate the good in their lives. Over time, the concept evolved as customers shared their stories of wearing a Life is Good hat or shirt as a reminder to find optimism in the face of life’s adversity.

The $ 150 million per year clothing brand also helps spread its message of optimism through the Life is Good Kids Foundation, which helps more than one million children per year. Ten percent of Life is Good’s annual net profits go to the Life is Good Kids Foundation, which helps child care providers help children heal from various traumas.

Les Gresses, who once worked at Universal Studios in Florida, previously sold Life is Good products at a retail store they operated in Mount Dora, Fla., Before moving to Chattanooga. They have been retailers of Life is Good products for most of the past decade.

“A lot of people know the brand and they love it and there’s just something about creating a welcoming store that makes people want to come and shop with us,” Gress said. “People love a positive, upbeat message.”

The only other Life is Good branded store in Tennessee is in Gatlinburg.

“It’s a positive message and it’s something that I think people really need right now,” said Jacqui Gress. “We want people to feel better and I think this store is doing it.”

Contact Dave Flessner at [email protected] or 423-757-6340


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