Apricot Lane Settles Into Plum Location
It's true in real estate and it's true in retail: location matters. For small retail business owners, it can mean the difference between success and failure. I've met many shop owners who had a great idea and great products, but because their shop was in an out-of-the-way place, customers never found them and they were forced to close.
That likely won't happen to Surprise residents Aaron and Belinda Alvarado, who recently moved into one of the hottest up-and-coming locations in the Valley - Westgate City Center. With a constant stream of high-profile activities and the busy 20-screen AMC Theatres just steps away, traffic won't be a problem for their shop, Apricot Lane.
When I visited their boutique last Friday, two big activities were under way outside their front door - the AVP Pro Beach Volleyball Tour and an appearance by American Idol finalist Jordin Sparks.
It was a thrilling, and busy, time for the shop, which opened at the end of April. "That's why we wanted to be here at Westgate, because of all the events," Aaron said. "It's exciting."
This is the first Arizona location for Apricot Lane, which is a national franchise with stores in nearly 20 other states. The boutique carries trendy, name-brand clothing, jewelry, handbags, shoes and some home décor and gift items.
Some of the clothing labels include premium denim brands such as Lucky, LTB and Paper Denim & Cloth. A pair of Rock Revival jeans with an embroidered, elongated back pocket ($209) is just one of the finds. To go with those jeans are Free People bohemian-look dresses and tops, including a gray tunic embroidered with red accents and a shell-and-beaded rope belt ($148).
Along with the popular labels, the shop has brought in some unique styles, such as handmade embroidered and beaded slipper shoes from India ($45).
Once you get past the clothes, a table full of jewelry - helpfully organized by color - will keep any jewelry-fiend busy. Chunky bangles, shell necklaces and charm bracelets are big right now, as is the crystal-studded crown necklace ($18).
Handbag collectors will love the wall full of purses, with styles ranging from casual, floral-print tote bags to a handmade Italian leather bag studded with Swarovski crystals ($398). Other popular summer bags are a Marc Chantal buttery-yellow leather bag with metal accents ($69) and a colorful patchwork leather purse by Lucky ($138).
If you can make it past the accessories, the shop also carries home décor and a collection of Letters scented bath items, which were inspired by 1940s love letters found in an attic. Candles include Tyler soy-based candles in distinctive leopard-print packaging.
While restaurants have dominated the first phase of Westgate openings, several retail stores are due to join Apricot Lane in the next few weeks, including Guess, Quiksilver, a McFarlane collectibles store and Coronado Tobacco, says Jeffrey Hecht, a Westgate spokesman. He added that additional retail deals are in the works and will likely be announced in the near future.
Aaron expects that with the huge Super Bowl activities slated to hit in February 2008, business owners are scurrying for space. "Everybody is trying to get in before Super Bowl."
Arizona native Angela Rabago-Mussi is a freelance writer who lives in Glendale. She loves to shop and can be reached by e-mail at email@example.com.
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