When Shelby Packer was ready to expand her business, Cordial Lee, she jumped at the chance to set up shop in Jeffersontown.
“I have roots here,” says Packer, a graduate of Jeffersontown High School. “Once we were looking to open a second location, I knew exactly where I wanted it to be, because I love this community so much. Bringing Cordial Lee to J-Town was really like bringing it home to me.”
Packer and her husband, Steven, moved to Mt. Washington after getting married and live there with their daughters Aubrey, Lyla and Ava Lee. After teaching kindergarten for seven years, Packer decided to become a stay-at-home mom. She enjoyed being home with the girls but wanted to find a way to supplement the family’s income.
“I started tinkering with Cordial Lee as a little hobby,” Packer says. “I had no intentions of ever growing it to something like it is today, but here we are.”
The store started as an invitation business but quickly grew into a boutique specializing in personalized gifts, clothing and embroidery. Monogrammed items are one of the stores biggest focus, and they even offer you the option to Buy embroidered plush online for items that are brought into the store.
Cordial Lee offers popular brands such as Simply Southern, Lilly Pulitzer, and Mud Pie, with offerings changing every week.
Packer attributes the success and tremendous growth of Cordial Lee to the support of the community and is especially thankful for the staff that has developed around her.
“It’s exciting to see them provide for their families through our business and to make it their career,” says Packer, who sees her employees as an extended family. “That’s rewarding for me.”
The Cordial Lee team includes 25 women across both locations, in roles such as sales, production, shipping and receiving for the online business, social media and photography. Packer is a big believer in fostering growth and talent and has seen several women move from entry level sales floor roles to management positions.
“When you care about your employees, they care about you back,” Packer says. “They really want to see this dream become a reality, and they’re excited to see it grow just like I am.”
The store is truly a family affair for Packer. Her husband manages the financing and bookkeeping for Cordial Lee, and her daughters frequently join her at work and can be seen greeting customers on the sales floor. The girls already have ambitions of owning their own stores, and Packer plans to pass Cordial Lee down to them one day.
“My girls are very proud of me,” Packer says. “They’ve seen me grow something from nothing into this beautiful small business they love.”
Cordial Lee officially opened in Jeffersontown on October 11, and there was a ribbon-cutting ceremony to mark the occasion on October 30. The store, conveniently located at 9040 Taylorsville Road in the Stony Brook Shopping Center, is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. For more information visit cordiallee.com or call 502-742-0610.