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Bright, colorful, and cheerful are just a few ways to describe the eye-catching selection of gifts customers see when entering the trendy Lorraine K. Boutique. Named after owner Lorraine Kathryne McGowan, the fashion-forward shop was originally known as Country Hearts.
It first opened on October 1, 1987, in the Bradford Green Shopping Center in Monroe, then three years later relocated down the road to the newly built Clock Town Square.
“When I started the store, country was very big,” Ms McGowan explained. “We sold lots and lots of furniture and all kinds of country decorations. We sold lamps and quilts. But then the times changed.”
Little by little, she saw a shift in the market move toward women’s accessories as a larger part of the industry.
“I kept on top of the trends when I would go on my buying trips to see what was out there and what the vendors were showing. I started bringing in jewelry, scarfs, and little random pieces of clothing, and I saw it was really taking off and becoming a bigger part of the business,” she said.
In April 2014, after two years of deliberation, she took the leap to officially rename the store Lorraine K. Boutique.
“If I didn’t use my own name, I would be losing my identity to the business,” Ms McGowan said, adding that she wanted to ensure her clientele could recognize that the store had not gone out of business, just had changed its name.
Since the rebranding evolution, the store has become one of the largest boutique and gift shops in Fairfield County, known for being on the pulse of the latest trends.
Lorraine K. Boutique specializes in women’s apparel, jewelry, baby items, and accessories; and currently carries brands at a variety of price points, including Brighton, Vera Bradley, Mariposa, Nora Fleming, and Kendra Scott.
The store also offers private parties, personal stylists, loyalty and clothing club cards, as well as gift certificates and gift packaging.
Looking back on more than 30 years of business, Ms McGowan says she will always remember when the store had its 25th anniversary party.
She honored each of the members of her staff — many of whom have been with her for over a decade, including one woman who has been working with her for 28 years — with a special speech and bouquet of flowers.
“I have a wonderful staff,” Ms McGowan said. “The gals just do an incredible job. Everyone pitches in and comes up with ideas. We are like our own little family.”
Not only was she surrounded by her work family, but many of her devoted customers, business vendors, and her three children who live as far as California came out to support her milestone anniversary.
“We had a huge turnout that just made me feel so good that this is so worth it,” Ms McGowan said. “It was really a special event.”
In the ever-changing market, she pledges the Lorraine K. Boutique will continue its success by staying one step ahead of the trends, and looks forward to growing with its devoted staff and longtime clientele.
The Lorraine K. Boutique is open Monday through Friday, from 10 am to 6 pm; Saturday, from 10 am to 5 pm; and Sunday, from noon to 4 pm. For more information, visit lorrainekboutique.com and facebook.com/lorrainekboutique, call 203-261-7556, or e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org.