SIMZ aims to make people look and feel their best

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. – Three longtime friends will soon be welcoming customers into their zone, where clothing and CBD products will share space in downtown Chambersburg.

What co-owner Thadeus Ballard called a “hometown Rue 21” is set to open in October at 133 N. Main St. in Chambersburg. The racks and shelves at SIMZ (Shop In My Zone) are filled with apparel for men, women and children.

Among the merchandise are long- and short-sleeved shirts, underwear, beanies and “dad caps” – baseball caps with curved brims – said Ballard, who shares ownership of the store with cousin and friend Marcus Paul. Pal Jimmie Norah, 31, is the third member of the SIMZ team.

The shirts are from Blue Mountain Sports Apparel Inc. in Chambersburg, and the rest of the clothing and accessories are from other U.S. vendors, some of which are in Los Angeles. The store’s name is emblazoned on much of what the shop sells.

“Our biggest competitor is going to be Rue 21,” said Ballard, 30, referring to the national clothing store.

Ballard and Paul, both 30, grew up in Prince George’s County, Md., and moved to Chambersburg when they were 15. They have been friends with Chambersburg native Norah, 31, since high school. Ballard has been working since then, and said life taught him that some employers don’t value their workers.

“At companies, you’re very disposable,” he said.

After losing his job at a company for which he said he gave his all, he decided to chart a path to becoming his own boss. Ballard and Paul have been talking about having their own business for a long time.

The cousins work for HempWorx, which sells CBD products – oils, pills, topicals, hygiene products and edibles containing cannabinoids, a set of compounds found in industrial hemp, which is a cousin of the marijuana plant. The pair thought it made sense to combine items that make people feel good on the inside with fashions that make them look good on the outside.

“It kind of all came together,” Ballard said.

Along with its line of CBD goods, SIMZ will sell essential oils and beard oils.

“We’re going to have a little bit of everything for everybody,” Ballard said.

Ballard and Paul began leasing the 1,500-square-foot store several months ago, but its opening was delayed by the coronavirus pandemic, which put a halt to most shipments of merchandise.

“COVID-19 kind of crushed our pride a little bit,” Ballard said.

When companies resumed moving their goods, the future again seemed bright for SIMZ.

Downtown Chambersburg Inc. President Sam Thrush welcomed SIMZ to the eclectic mix of small businesses downtown.

“Having a variety is always helpful,” Thrush said. “That’s what a downtown is – unique, small.”

He added that the town’s boutiques, eateries and galleries are bringing in a new wave of shoppers.

Whether it’s basic apparel or designer goods, Ballard said reasonable prices will reign at SIMZ, along with an optimistic attitude.

“We’re committed to having a positive platform for our community,” he said.

For more information about SIMZ, go to; call 717-660-2377; or email [email protected].

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