With her new clothing store set to open in downtown Elmira next week, Tami Runstedler is looking to take the travelling out of shopping.
In opening FB and Me, Runstedler is hoping to offer locals a variety of clothing currently only available by visiting the cities.
“I’m bringing it here; I don’t have to drive anywhere anymore – it’s here, it’s local,” she said.
FB and Me, named after her children Ferrin and Brody, is set to open next week, and will feature clothing for children (toddlers to pre-teens) and women.
With the economy in tatters, some of her friends questioned the timing behind her move. But Runstedler wasn’t fazed.
“It’s something good to bring to the community, and fashion was just the right fit, pardon the pun,” said Runstedler with a chuckle, noting that she hopes the store will help reduce shoppers’ travel costs. Rather than making the trip to Waterloo or Kitchener, or even Toronto, shoppers will be just a short hop away from a clothing store that offers unique products, something needed in an area she thinks is “a little underserviced.”
The store will also include infant wear, as well as some gift items for baby showers.
As time rolls on, Runstedler is confident that her product line will likely change.
“We’re willing to listen: obviously, that’s one of the big things about being in a small town and having a business there, you really have to listen,” she said, noting she already gets a lot of help from her friends – “It’s always good to get others’ opinion especially when it comes to clothing because everybody’s sense of style comes from their own unique way of expressing it” – and one of her most trusted confidantes.
“My little girl, she’s into fashion and she’s really excited about the shop opening,” said Runstedler, noting her 10-year-old daughter’s tastes and picks often translate into products on offer at the store – from everyday items such as leggings and stockings, to more specialized articles like pretty dresses the girls might wear to an Easter church service.
As much as she can, Runstedler likes to support Canadian businesses, even if that is becoming more and more difficult every day. When it opens, the store will feature a girls’ line from Vancouver.
Having attended shows in Toronto, studied different brands online, and talked with friends and colleagues, Runstedler is convinced the new store, which comprises some 1,500 square feet of space located upstairs at 57 Arthur St. S., will feature something for everyone. Even toddlers averse to shopping will find a distraction or two at the store, as a playroom equipped with toys, colouring books and movies is available while parents peruse the racks.
“I’m a mom, I know what it’s like to shop with a two-year-old … [the playroom] has been tested by our two-year- old and he seems pretty content in there.”
Located in the heart of downtown, where many of the neighbouring businesses have been really supportive of the venture, the store should see plenty of traffic.
Having recently resigned from her position as a commercial insurance broker, Runstedler is excited about the opportunity.
“It’s a welcome challenge and something I needed in my life. I think everybody comes to a point where they don’t want to just do something to survive; they want to do something that they really love to do and have a profound interest in and this is it for me.”