Two boutiques join the local scene
When it comes to shopping this holiday season, there are several new options.
Both the Eastview and Greece Ridge malls have expanded. But Rochester also has added some locally owned shops to the mix. For example, Ginger Northrop, who used to work for Ralph Lauren, opened Ruffles Boutique at 1464 Monroe Ave. in Brighton. Not surprisingly, the style is more preppy and traditional.
Less than a mile away, at 367 Park Ave., Nita Brown, who had been making fashions inspired by her homeland of Ghana out of her Rochester home, has moved her MansaWear business into a storefront.
Each store, with its own personality, caters to different demographics, showcasing the diversity of retail in the Rochester region.
Northrop, from Greenwich, Conn., moved to Rochester because she is marrying Charlie Ruff, an area native she met in New York City, and they decided to settle here.
She’s always wanted to open a boutique that reflects her own personal style
“I grew up in New England with the preppy look, cable knit sweaters and cardigans,” she says.
She saw the opportunity in Rochester, deciding to specialize in classic looks for young professionals that are affordable. Northrop tries to pick classic styles with modern twists. Shoppers can find dresses starting in the $60 range, jackets starting in the $80 range.
“Rochester needs more shopping options,” says Brighton resident Lisa Noonan after buying a skirt at Ruffles, which opened in November.
Brown opened her Park Avenue shop on the night of the Park Avenue Merchants Association’s annual holiday open house. The retail shop allows her clients a better place to see all of the colorful fabrics to choose from.
Customers choose the style — for example, a two-piece form-fitting dress for $250, a tunic for $98 — then the fabric. They are measured, and then Brown sends the order to Ghana for the clothing to be made. For customers who want a little pick me up without the wait, the boutique has ready-made piece in standard sizes and clutches made from African fabrics, as well as accessories. Brown opened her business in 2006 and had been searching for a retail spot in the Park Avenue area for a while when the small shop became available for lease.
“Since 2010, my business has grown so much that I needed a retail space,” she says.