Brian Mason bought his first article of clothing. This is a day he would never forget.
Aaron Walters took his first job in fashion retail. A seed was planted.
Mason and Walters met while working for a large clothing chain in Knoxville, TN. The two worked to successfully reawaken a struggling division and formed a strong partnership along the way.
A down-turned economy began to cause some concern in the retail industry...well, and pretty much everyone.
The two learned their employer would be filing bankruptcy and began talking about ways they could continue working together. They explored many options and eventually went their separate ways...or so they thought.
Mason and Walters met in Bentonville, AR to develop the strategy for their store. In a small coffee shop, they sat down and wrote a business plan for a modernized Christian shopping experience. After a borderline healthy amount of coffee and thought, Altar'd State was born.
The duo, along with a few easily-persuaded others, traveled to Atlanta and Denver to experience Altar'd State's first official market trip.
The first Altar'd State opened in Knoxville, TN, as a modern Christian retail store and coffee shop. It received genuine support from the local community. Mason and Walters were happy with the early success, but still felt that the shop needed something different.
The organization discovered a new market opportunity to add fashion apparel, jewelry and accessories. This was a new, but promising market for the budding retailer.
The Altar'd State team, now 5 full-time employees, set out on a major market trip. The store was already carrying some apparel, but it was during this trip that the major shift towards a unique fashion retailer occurred.
After a full year of evolutions, Altar'd State was a popular women's fashion boutique opening a second store in Birmingham, AL.
Altar'd State opened 9 more stores in Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, and Virginia. Successes and lessons were a plenty while Mason and Walters built a successful store that was truly different.
Altar'd State operates almost 20 boutiques in the Southeastern region, with plans to continue growth. The store will continue to stand out for good and do its part to change the world for the better. Altar'd State is still headquartered in Knoxville, TN under the direction of Mason and Walters. The company has grown to approximately 25 full-time characters, a revolving door of great interns, and a handful of beloved office pets.