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Sherri Richards, Published July 21 2010

A trip down Apricot Lane

Jeanie Anderson’s career path has taken her down Apricot Lane.

Anderson owns the newest store at West Acres Shopping Center in Fargo. Apricot Lane Boutique opened Thursday in the J.C. Penney wing.

“I’ve always wanted to have my own boutique,” Anderson said. “And I’ve always loved fashion, clothing.”

The store, a California-based franchise, carries women’s clothing and accessories. Anderson describes the store as “fashion-forward” and “unique.”

“It’s unique that we are picking our own vendors. Corporate doesn’t tell us what vendors to use,” Anderson said, adding this allows the store to change its inventory quickly.

Apricot Lane carries high-end branded apparel and premium denim brands such as Rock Revival, Miss Me and William Rast. They range in price from about $90 to $200.

The store only orders a small number of each item, she said. “You don’t have a bunch of other women with the same outfit.”

Sales associate Deb Holly said customers have told her Fargo needed a store like Apricot Lane. “They don’t have to go to Minneapolis now to get some fun clothes.”

A brick façade lines the walls of the store. Three crystal chandeliers hang from the black ceiling, and a warm-toned wood laminate covers the floors.

Apricot Lane’s window displays drew Amanda Weitemier into the store Tuesday afternoon.

“I love their stuff,” she said while looking through a display of necklaces. “Very modern with a little edge, a little class.”

The franchise started in 2007. It has 35 stores in 17 states, with 13 more stores opening soon. At least 20 Apricot Lane Boutiques were set to open in 2010, according to its website.

Most of the stores are in the South or along the coasts.

“We needed something in the area that’s different, that brings in a different look,” Anderson said.

West Acres is now home to 35 apparel stores, which make up about 62 percent of the mall’s square footage, excluding department stores, said mall manager Rusty Papachek. Fourteen of these stores sell strictly women’s apparel.

Another clothing store, Forever 21, is scheduled to open this fall, occupying 20,000 square feet.

Papachek said he’s heard some people complain that the mall has too many women’s clothing stores. But demographics show women are the mall’s main customers, he said.

“The females are the ones who are primarily doing the shopping, so we want to appeal to that customer,” he said. “You still have to have enough other appeal so it draws the men and the teenagers.”

Business profile

Readers can reach Forum reporter Sherri Richards at (701) 241-5556