Karen MacDonald had long been eyeing a retail location in St. Jacobs. In the back of her mind was a plan to make the jump from her job in a dental office to running her own boutique. At one point, the spot she liked was vacant, but got quickly snapped up. When it was available again, she was ready.
“I’ve always thought of and intended to do this at some point in my life, and there’s no time like now,” she laughed, recounting the decision to switch from 35 years in the dentistry clinic to launch Lucinda’s Up Town New Fashion & Consignment Loft, which opened at the end of February.
The store features an eclectic mix of new clothing and accessories for women on the main floor, with formal attire for women and children on consignment upstairs.
With the new clothing, she aims for unique items that reflect a growing demand for both good quality and the right price points. There are made-in-Canada items, Italian garments and handmade sweaters from Peru – “it’s a small, family business” – among a host of other offerings.
Right now, MacDonald is working on the mix, looking to offer items that will appeal to a broad range of customers –the women of all ages who come through the door.
“The big thing is to find out what people like,” she explained, noting the goal is to make it a place customers think of for unique clothing, be it for a formal occasion, everyday wear or a trip to the beach.
Though St. Jacobs is traditionally associated with tourists, she very much has in mind local shoppers when choosing what goes on the racks.
“I want to be a store for local people.”
MacDonald’s foray into the business allows her to indulge her longstanding interest in fashion: she gets to pick what’s on offer and enjoys helping people coordinate pieces, perhaps encouraging them to branch out a little – “that part is fun.”
As with her own experience, she notes that consumers are more demanding today, looking for quality, price and service.
“Their needs and wants are more than they ever were.”
That applies equally to the consignment floor, with its emphasis on formal attire.
Often, clothing purchased for a wedding, prom, first communion or the like is worn for just one occasion, and comes with a hefty price tag. In taking consignments, Lucinda’s lets people make some money while clearing out their closets – “they have the option to do something with their fine garments.”
In turn, the shop provides an outlet for those seeking value in purchasing such clothing.
“I like that someone can come in here and walk away feeling great about themselves without having to break the bank,” said MacDonald.
That option is especially helpful with children’s clothing, as kids are likely to outgrow their clothes before the next formal occasion rolls around.
“Every parent wants their kids to look wonderful out at an event, but there is the cost to consider,” she said, pointing to a similar issue with proms, where their child’s wishes for the big day can quickly add up.
Proms and graduation events are topical considerations at this time of year, with weddings starting to ramp up as well. MacDonald notes, however, that there’s a year-round demand, from Christmas parties to people heading out on cruises.
“There are so many events in our lives.”
That said, summer is likely to be a very busy time given the store’s location. That traffic helped determine the Elmira resident’s choice for setting up shop.
“St. Jacobs has always been quite quaint, and it’s a place I’ve always enjoyed shopping,” she explained.
Having opened in February, she had the quiet months to get her things organized. Now, she’s ready for an open house Saturday (June 7) to make it formal. Keep an eye out – and ear, actually – for the steel band playing outside the store at 1374 King St. from 1:30-4:30 p.m.
“It’s something that’s different – it’s a fun thing,” she said of the very visible part of the festivities planned for the event to mark the opening of Lucinda’s Up Town New Fashion & Consignment Loft.