The owners of wanted more foot traffic in their store, so when they found a good location, they took a leap and decided to move to downtown Naperville.
The business has been open since 2007 on the south side of Naperville, near Showplace Cinema. However, when a location opened up on the corner of Jefferson Avenue and Webster Street (143 W. Jefferson Ave.), owners Jan Armijo and Laura Vertucci decided they were ready for a move.
The boutique is one of several businesses to open in downtown Naperville recently. New businesses include The Bar Method, Firefly Nights Photography and another Naperville business with a location on the south side, Occasions. Other restaurants and businesses have plans to open downtown, said Katie Wood, executive director of the Downtown Naperville Alliance.
The south location of Élan Boutique will remain open until the lease ends in October, but Armijo said the plan is to consolidate operations to the downtown store.
“I need the foot traffic,” she said. “People like to walk around. … People are out dining and enjoying downtown Naperville.”
The other location is more of a destination for customers, Armijo said.
People are more likely to stop in while they are already out enjoying downtown, having dinner, or window-shopping, she said. And, there is always the chance shoppers will make an impulse buy.
The store’s prices are reasonable and meet a variety of budgets, she said. Armijo said the boutique sells L.A. style fashions that are “fun and affordable," at a price point that has allowed the business to weather the economic storm.
“We want people to be able to find items at a reasonable price,” she said, adding that they also cater to a variety of age groups.
The downtown location has been open a month and regular customers to the other location are now stopping in downtown.
“The good news is overall for the downtown, we have defied the odds,” Katie Wood said. “We are doing remarkably well. I think the reason the downtown is doing so well is we have a great collection of businesses which offer people variety.”
Businesses do come and go downtown and a few have recently closed their doors, including and , but Wood said there is less turnover in downtown Naperville than in some other communities.
One of the empty businesses downtown is the former site of . Wood said the store closed because the retailer decided to change direction and focus more on furniture sales. The company closed many locations across the country.
But Wood is optimistic that there will be retailers filling in the larger locations, such as the former site of Restoration Hardware.
“A premiere opening is opening in the former post office building,” she said. “This is the flagship location and they have done an incredible job restoring that building. And, a smaller version of the post office will be reopening.”
Changes are coming for development at the Van Buren parking deck, Wood said. New owners have acquired the property and development is possible in 2012 or 2013.
“That will bring a whole new infusion downtown,” she said.