Apricot Lane Boutique Now Under Woman-Led Ownership
Missoula, MT (January 2020) — Within the retail environment we live today, where online retailers are competing heavily with brick-and-mortar stores, many successful retailers are connecting with consumers by creating unique and happy shopping experiences. At Southgate Mall, a woman-owned clothing store called Apricot Lane Boutique is seeking to do just that.
Apricot Lane is owned by Whitney Oliver, who purchased the locally-franchised business in early 2019 after serving as the manager and buyer for over 7 years. She notes, “I was able to learn the business from the ground up, first as a sales associate, then as a buyer and manager. When I took ownership I was able to continue with smooth operations, yet make some creative changes including extending sizing options to include XS-XL. The response from our shoppers has been extremely positive.”
Whitney says the store has always focused on creating a unique customer experience. While there are over 70 Apricot Lane Boutiques nationwide, each store provides a one-of-a-kind shopping experience, because every store’s product mix is carefully curated onsite to reflect local trends and tastes. “I love being able to customize our inventory to the community,” she comments. Being the manager and buyer for years, she was able to learn what customers loved and what they requested to see more of, pivoting the product mix to reflect that knowledge. She believes that flexibility has been a crucial part of Apricot Lane’s success in their 9 years in Missoula. “We seek to create an experience where shoppers come in and feel like the store was made for them. There’s a comfortable feeling that’s generated when retailers really listen to their shoppers.”
In addition to creating a relaxed and in-tune shopper experience, one of Whitney’s priorities upon taking ownership was to bring back more of their charitable retail lines with renewed focus. “The brand has always had ties with charitable giving, so I was excited to build on that, bringing in some new clothing and accessory lines that give back,” she notes. For example, the store sells a line of chapsticks called Kind Lips where 20% of the proceeds go towards anti-bullying messaging.
Apricot Lane Boutique is located inside Southgate Mall next to T-Mobile. The store is one of six women-owned businesses at Southgate Mall. Others include Bohme, Montana Skin Academy, Nail Trix, River City Hair Studio, and Skin Chic. The shopping center is also home to over 25 locally-owned businesses, in addition to having a broad brand-name store mix.
About Southgate Mall
Southgate Mall is the premier town center in Missoula and largest retail destination in Western Montana, comprising a trade area that extends 130 miles. Recognized as the “Best Shopping Mall in the State” by INSIDER Travel, Southgate Mall is home to more than 100 national and local retail, entertainment and dining options, as well as over 40 community events and activities throughout the year. A dynamic offering of things to do along with things to buy keeps guests engaged and returning often. Southgate Mall is open seven days a week; Monday to Saturday 10:00 am – 9:00 pm and Sunday 11:00 am – 6:00 pm. Southgate Mall is owned by Washington Prime Group. For more information, please visit ShopSouthgate.com or call (406) 721-5140. Be sure to like us on Facebook at facebook.com/Southgate.Mall and follow us on Instagram with @SouthgateMall.
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