Renowned music merchandise brand sets up shop at Niles Bluegrass Festival

Published 11:30 am Saturday, June 3, 2023

NILES — At the Niles Bluegrass Festival, a new local business is giving community members a glimpse of what is to come.

Jen Tabor, owner of lifestyle brand Souldier, was on hand as one of the many vendors at the festival in Riverfront Park. Founded in 2005 in Chicago, Souldier produces custom goods including fretted instrument straps, dog and cat collars, saddle straps, purses and more using primarily upcycled materials. 

Souldier has reached an international audience, with recording artists like Chris Stapleton, Taylor Swift, Tom Petty and Panic! At The Disco sporting the brand.

“I’m excited to be here this weekend at the Niles Bluegrass Festival,” Tabor said. “This is our first time meeting the public and we’re excited to show them what the new opportunities are coming to Niles and the new businesses that are coming to Niles and we’re one of them. We have everything on display here this weekend for people to get a taste of what the store is gonna look like at the new Star Building.”

Souldier purchased the Star Building from Leader Publications, 217 N. 4th St., in October 2022. The building currently houses Leader Publications and Souldier’s manufacturing facility and will soon house its flagship store at 223 N. 4th St. that will sell those items, house a vintage guitar shop and will also have space to provide music lessons to community members.

In addition, Tabor said Beauty Bar, a beauty salon that offers eyelash services, waxing, tanning and more, will be moving into the building at 225 N. 4th St. Souldier will also be moving the Good For Your Soul Foundation, its nonprofit aiming to promote music and art activities for Berrien County youth and teens, into the historic house connected to the Star Building on Sycamore Street.

“It is going to house lessons on guitar, piano, vocals, drums, etc,” she said. “We’re activating that space and we’re going to have a full music store with a lesson program, mixed with the Souldier flagship store. It’s going to be quite a unique space right here in Niles.”