Merchant of the Week: Rhodadendron—a special store in a special market
August 3, 2012
by Rob Greenstein
I wanted to walk into a Wonderland of Fashion in the Village Yard
The Village Yard
144 King Street
Chappaqua, NY 10514
When did you open your store?
Rhodadendron has been in business since 2004. We opened in Chappaqua in 2008 with the intent of taking our concept of great quality merchandise at “nice” prices so that our town would have a choice. We want to prove that being a smart shopper was not about income, but about being savvy.
What is your background?
I was a womenswear and accessory buyer for national retailers for years. Working as the merchandiser/buyer for Brooks Brothers, I was given the opportunity to work in their International /New Business Division, and buy for their stores overseas. I helped establish new markets in Europe and was the buyer for the newly established Airport Division as they opened in airports across the country. This experience made me realize the untapped world of special markets influenced by a new direction in retail, convenience/impulse shopping.
So, was it Chappaqua’s “special market” that led you to open a retail store in Chappaqua?
Not yet! In researching the college market, I identifyed a void for fashion merchandise on campuses. My presence on campus centers sparked my interest in the evolving campus center as the center of commerce and the challenges the bookstores were facing with the loss of huge textbook revenues to online sites, and loss of traffic through the bookstore. I opened my first store at Syracuse University in 2006. In 2007, I began to approach bookstores with the idea of implementing fashion merchandise to replace the loss of the core business. We are now in the process of opening permanent boutiques inside the bookstores to create new experiences for the campus customer so those customers come back to the bookstore.
OK, is that when Chappaqua’s “special market” that led you to open a retail store in Chappaqua?
Yes! Creating concepts for all these markets and my buying/product development background enables Rhodadendron to offer the most current fashion at competitive prices.
What other products do your offer?
We offer an ageless group of apparel and a wide variety of jewelry and accessories in a very appealing, “feel good,” pretty atmosphere . Gifts are a large part of our business. Our customers walk into a wonderland of fashion, no pressure, just fun shopping. We look forward to working with each and every customer. Retailing today is all about the experience. And we want only the best experience at Rhodadendron. Every day is a holiday at Rhodadendron!
What makes your store unique?
Because we’re located off the main shopping area, in the Village Yard, we have to be that much better at what we do to make Rhodadendron a destination. Our customers love pulling into the parking lot, finding that last-minute accessory, a new outfit or gift. Having been hit hard by the hurricane, we took the opportunity to change-up the store, something every retailer needs to do. Our customers were thrilled when we reopened and so were we. Each and every store puts their hearts and soul into making their store a special place to be and shop. The finishing touch is our gift wrap, plenty of warm welcomes, and customer service.
Any recommendations to make Chappaqua more business friendly?
There’s no greater asset to a town than the ability to shop where you live. Rhodadendron is proud to be part of a terrific shopping experience in Chappaqua. Our customers know that it’s not just about the storefronts being occupied. It’s about appreciating and patronizing those who have invested and created varied shops that enhance our village.
Visit NCNOW.org’s Local Merchants Section to see other “Merchant of the Week” pieces by Rob Greenstein.
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