Wednesday, April 18, 2018
Business

A desire to shop locally leads to another: Sell locally for better business

FORT LAUDERDALE — When David Harris opened his women's clothing boutique in Fort Lauderdale, he didn't realize that having two similar apparel stores in the same shopping plaza would help his business grow.

Last October, Harris opened Etiquette Boutique, a 1,100-square-foot women's clothing store that offers a limited supply of exclusive designer dresses, tops, shoes and more.

His clothing boutique is neighbors with two others in the same shopping plaza: Hello Gorgeous, another women's designer store, and the Prissy Hen, an upscale consignment shop for women's apparel. Independently owned boutiques still compete with one another for business, but some store owners are coming together to strengthen the couture community.

"When a customer of mine buys an outfit and is looking for that last piece to complete it, if I don't have it, I'm calling around to other stores to see if they do," Harris said. "Not only does that make a lasting impression with the customer, but it's just beneficial for all of us store owners in the area."

Every month, Harris brings select designs to Ladies Night at Fort Lauderdale's O Lounge, where he sells clothing to the lounge's patrons. Women get to browse the racks and try on clothes in the lounge. Harris was invited to participate by another boutique owner, Stacy Goren.

"The point isn't really about sharing business, but giving a different experience to the same kind of customers," said Goren, who works as a VIP host at YOLO and Vibe nightclub, but also opened Elektrik Boutique in August. Elektrik Boutique also sells women's fashions, from casual designs to cocktail dresses.

"We offer an experience you're not going to get in the big-box stores," Goren said. "You're not going to run into people with the same dress or top if you buy from a boutique."

Boutique clothing stores usually cater to a more high-end customer because of the higher price tags associated with limited-edition designer lines. But some stores, like Etiquette Boutique, still offer prices comparable to those of department stores.

"If you have the money, you're going to buy an $800 dress, but for 95 percent of shoppers, that's not an option," Harris said. "So people go to big-box stores like Macy's, where they think it's a little more affordable. That isn't totally true anymore."

Molly Carey, owner of LaLa Couture in Fort Lauderdale, showcases local designers in her store. Carey currently sells a line of swimwear by Ravish Sands, a line created by Jessie Becker in Fort Lauderdale, even though Becker sells her bathing suit designs from a storefront just around the corner.

"If I know the brand and the designer, I have no problem selling something locally in my store," said Carey, who opened her boutique in Fort Lauderdale last October. "But boutiques are very protective of their customers. I don't want to send mine to another store if I don't know for sure what it's all about."

Comments
Free rides on PSTA and HART buses to celebrate Earth Day

Free rides on PSTA and HART buses to celebrate Earth Day

ST. PETERSBURG — Those who use mass transit across the Tampa Bay area can ride for free on Sunday.To celebrate Earth Day, both the Pinellas Suncoast Transit Authority (PSTA) and the Hillsborough Area Regional Transit Authority (HART) will be offering...
Updated: 5 minutes ago
Marriott Edition to bring five-star hotel ambitions to Water Street Tampa

Marriott Edition to bring five-star hotel ambitions to Water Street Tampa

TAMPA — At the Gramercy Park Hotel in New York City, hotelier Ian Schrager transformed a Jazz Age building with its own rich history into a destination offering even more heady experiences — extravagant, edgy and bohemian.In Tampa, Schager will have ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Tech Data names Rich Hume to take over as new CEO

Tech Data names Rich Hume to take over as new CEO

CLEARWATER — Tech Data, Tampa Bay’s largest public company, has named Richard "Rich" T. Hume as its new chief executive officer, effective June 6.Hume, Tech Data’s executive vice president and chief operating officer since joining the company in 2016...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Downtown’s success creates noisy problem for St. Petersburg

Downtown’s success creates noisy problem for St. Petersburg

Times Staff Writer ST. PETERSBURG — Downtown’s rapid growth has not been without tension between its residents and the businesses and events that draw exuberant crowds. The city, which has been attempting to amend its noise ordinance o...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Everybody loses in a trade war, Canadian chamber CEO warns Tampa officials

Everybody loses in a trade war, Canadian chamber CEO warns Tampa officials

TAMPA — President Donald Trump has tweeted "trade wars are good, and easy to win."Don’t believe it, the president of the Canadian Chamber of Commerce told Tampa business and political leaders on Wednesday."We share more with you than with anybody els...
Published: 04/19/18
Trademark makes it official: Call it the St. Pete Pier

Trademark makes it official: Call it the St. Pete Pier

ST. PETERSBURG — Today the City Council is set to approve a $15 million construction contract and additional money for the next phase of the new Pier District expected to open in the fall of 2019.But even as council members get ready to commit hundre...
Published: 04/19/18
Tampa’s 60-year-old Housewife Bake Shop may not be closing after all

Tampa’s 60-year-old Housewife Bake Shop may not be closing after all

For nearly 60 years it was breads, cakes and pastries, up before dawn for the Perrone family in Armenia Garden Estates. For a minute it looked like Tampa’s Housewife Bake Shop was going to close, but third-generation owner Tena Perrone said on Wednes...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Fed survey finds worries about higher tariffs

Fed survey finds worries about higher tariffs

Associated PressWASHINGTON — The Federal Reserve’s latest national survey has found that U.S. businesses are growing increasingly concerned about the impact higher tariffs could have on their companies and the overall economy. The Fed reported Wednes...
Published: 04/18/18
Most of Tampa Bay’s new liquor licenses won by applicants from South Florida, Tallahassee

Most of Tampa Bay’s new liquor licenses won by applicants from South Florida, Tallahassee

TALLAHASSEE — The newest batch of quota liquor licenses for the Tampa Bay area will go to applicants from South Florida and Tallahassee. In its annual drawing, the state Department of Alcoholic Beverages and Tobacco selected the winners of 51 licen...
Published: 04/18/18
Report: Unemployment assistance in Florida lagged after Hurricane Irma

Report: Unemployment assistance in Florida lagged after Hurricane Irma

Note: This story has been updated with a response from the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity.In the days and weeks following Hurricane Irma, Gov. Rick Scott touted his administration’s preparation and response to one of the worst storms to h...
Published: 04/18/18