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Apricot Lane: The road to fashion

For Stephanie Chait, opening a retail clothing franchise was a natural fit.

After spending almost 20 years as a salesperson in corporate America, the Jamesville resident said she wanted a change.

"What girl doesn't love to shop?" Chait said.

Apricot Lane Boutique opened its doors March 10. It carries eclectic clothing that caters to women ranging from high school teens to the hippest of grandmas. And once a style sells out, you won't see it again. Chait buys only six of each item, with the majority of these trendy, celebrity-inspired designs coming directly from Los Angeles and New York. Brands include Free People, Alternative Apparel, BB Dakota, Miss Me and Rock Revival. Accessories include costume jewelry, hats and handbags.

"I love when people come into the store and they buy things they don't normally see [at a mall]," said Chait, whose originally from the NYC area. "I just want to keep that momentum going."

Eventually, Chait said she may expand to include a men's line.

Customer service at Apricot Lane is laid back and hands off allowing customers to browse the store without high sales pressure.

"I'm not pushy," she said. "I give [my customers] suggestions. I'm familiar with all the lines that I carry so I let them know what fits better, and I'm honest. I'm not going to sell a pair of jeans to someone just to sell them."

Having had a career in business and sales, Chait has had no retail experience until now. That's one of the reasons why she chose this particular outfit. Apricot Lane has a proven concept and provides expertise in all areas of the retail industry, she said.

"They help you get started, get lines of credit, guide you and help with the buying and the merchandise ... but they're very liberal in terms of how you want to run your own business," she said. Chait hired Jamesville-based Artesion Design & Construction to design her cashwrap and develop the store's d cor and color scheme. "[They] were really hands on throughout the process."

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