Thursday, November 23, 2017
Business

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

RECOMMENDED READING


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
Suburban-bound millennials and other 2018 housing trends to watch

Suburban-bound millennials and other 2018 housing trends to watch

What’s ahead for real estate in 2018? Zillow economists put their heads together and offered up a laundry list of forecasts and predictions. The chief one to remember? Inventory shortages of homes for sale which challenged the market in 2017 will pe...
Updated: 2 hours ago

Woman, 51, robbed in Tyrone Square Mall parking lot, police say

ST. PETERSBURG — A woman was robbed after a man followed her to her car in a mall parking lot Thursday night and fired one shot at her, police said. The 51-year-old woman, whose identity St. Petersburg Police are withholding, was not injured. She was...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Black Friday still a brick-and-mortar experience for some

Black Friday still a brick-and-mortar experience for some

TAMPA — Standing in a frantic line at Best Buy on Thanksgiving, one young woman beat the system when she showed off the receipt for her new TV, which she had just purchased on her phone. She was waiting to pick it up."I didn’t know you could do that,...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Across country, small retailers aim for emotional ties big chains may lack

Across country, small retailers aim for emotional ties big chains may lack

Associated PressSome smaller retailers will tug at shoppers’ heartstrings during the holidays, trying to create an emotional experience or connection that a big national chain might not provide.Store owners are going well beyond the usual holiday dec...
Updated: 2 hours ago
As Tampa Bay economy matures, more key people bear watching. Let’s get started.

As Tampa Bay economy matures, more key people bear watching. Let’s get started.

What’s coming down the economic pike for Tampa Bay? Who’s driving this metro economy into 2018 and beyond? Change — people, issues, business focus — can be a good thing. It keeps places like geographically challenged Tampa Bay nimble with fresh blood...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Inkwood Books among retailers banking on ‘Small Business Saturday’

Inkwood Books among retailers banking on ‘Small Business Saturday’

TAMPA — By Tuesday evening, at least 50 cardboard boxes were still stacked against the shop’s wall, each labeled clearly with a black sharpie."Biographies""Pets""Fiction""Music"While the front of the store and new children’s section was mostly in pla...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Six years and counting: Allegiant Air reaches agreement with flight attendants

Six years and counting: Allegiant Air reaches agreement with flight attendants

ST. PETERSBURG — After six years of negotiations, Las Vegas-based Allegiant Air and its flight attendants union reached a tentative contract to improve worker pay and benefits and solidify airline policies."We feel like it’s an agreement that is cert...
Published: 11/22/17
Workers at luxury St. Pete condo tower say they are owed thousands

Workers at luxury St. Pete condo tower say they are owed thousands

ST. PETERSBURG — Nearly three dozen workers at ONE St. Petersburg, a luxury condo tower under construction in the heart of downtown, haven’t been paid in weeks and are owed thousands of dollars.With the holidays nearing, some of the men say they are ...
Published: 11/22/17
Some cities faced with all-or-nothing medical marijuana rules are playing it safe

Some cities faced with all-or-nothing medical marijuana rules are playing it safe

When it comes to weighing the options for regulating medical marijuana through the law passed this year, Dunedin city commissioners declared local governments face a "conundrum" and "a false dilemma."They said they would welcome a dispensary in the c...
Published: 11/22/17
More guns being detected at Tampa Bay area airports — and everywhere else

More guns being detected at Tampa Bay area airports — and everywhere else

TAMPA — Here’s some travel math for this traditionally heavy day for long trips: More people carrying guns plus more people flying equals more guns going to the airport.The numbers bear this out. The federal Transportation Security Administration has...
Published: 11/22/17