Apricot Lane Brings West Coast Style to Summit
Trendy new fashion boutique, Apricot Lane, offers styles and accessories for women of all ages, and a new kind of shopping experience.
Apricot Lane, Summit’s trendy new fashion boutique offers customers much more than designer labels and contemporary apparel. Apricot Lane Boutique, which opened on May 5, provides an innovative shopping experience in a welcoming atmosphere for women and teens of all ages.
Throughout the shop, eye-catching displays of jewelry and clothing are organized on merchandise tables or arranged against one of the space’s stone-façade walls. A flat-screen television features popular music videos and media, and a refreshments bar at the back of the store provides customers with water and coffee and is stocked with apricot jelly beans and chocolate-covered apricots, special-ordered from Sweet Nothings, in honor of the boutique’s namesake.
Also unique to Apricot Lane is its welcoming lounge area where customers can relax on a comfortable sofa or cushioned chair and a children’s play corner located just outside of the dressing room area which the store-owner, a mom of two, was inspired to develop as a result of her own personal experience as a mommy shopper.
“The moms love [the store] because they can find something for themselves and they can find something for their daughters,” explained Tracy Schwierk, who owns the store with her husband Paul.
The new boutique offers a variety of women’s clothing including denim jeans, tops, dresses and pants, as well as numerous accessories such as hats, jewelry, handbags, scarves and shoes. Schwierk described the style of the merchandise as “west coast meets east coast” and said that her boutique appeals to customers from ages 16 to 70.
The new store’s press release explains that because so many of the pieces sold at Apricot Lane have been spotted on Hollywood celebrities, those browsing the shop will find images of the stars near the item which they are sporting in their picture. Schwierk noted that because the store has both New York and Los Angeles buyers, they can stay on top of the trends before they even hit the tabloids and are seen on the famous celebrities.
Summit’s Apricot Lane Boutique is one of 46 franchises throughout the country and it is presently the only New Jersey location.
Current Springfield residents Schwierk and her husband moved to the area from North Carolina six years ago. Paul, who grew up in New Jersey before attending college in the south, returned to pursue work with his father’s business. It was through that business that he discovered the space that would become Apricot Lane.
“We had the location, but we needed to find the perfect fit,” wrote Tracy on the store website.
Paul and Tracy decided to pursue the idea of owning their own business so Paul searched the Internet for franchise opportunities and discovered that Apricot Lane ranked in the top 500. After some research and a visit from the company’s CEO, they were cleared to begin preparation for a Summit store.
“You get the rights to the store name and the colors, but every store is completely different,” said Schwierk, who explained that as the Summit boutique owner, she personally selects the brands and labels found in the Summit franchise and designates the product prices which vary from store to store.
Examples of the designer lines that can be found at the newest boutique include Miss Me denim, William Rast, which is a clothing line founded by Justin Timberlake, Kate Mesta, who makes chic celebrity dog tags and Alternative Earth, an organic cotton line made popular by Reese Witherspoon.
For young children, Schwierk stocks nail polish and kids’ jewelry and for the older clientele, she said that the store’s collection of scarves has been hard to keep on the shelves.
So what are Schwierk’s favorite in-store labels?
“I like so much!” said the owner who named Big Star denim, Anama, and Ya Los Angeles as a few of her top personal picks.
Another unique aspect of shopping at Apricot Lane is that the store only stocks six pieces of each item it sells. Once they’ve been sold, they are replaced with brand new pieces, which ensures that the inventory is constantly updated.
The fashion doesn’t end when the doors close at Apricot Lane. The store also offers additional opportunities for shoppers to organize special after-hours Fashion Parties which allow them to reserve the store for a shopping experience at no cost to the shoppers.
“You bring in the friends, we provide the refreshments,” explained Schwierk. “You can just have the store to yourself and shop, you can have a personal consultant, or you can even do it as a theme for a party.”
Fashion Party hosts receive 50 percent off of one item purchased at the party and 20 percent off of the entire sale for both the host and all guests. There are also opportunities for Fashion Party guests to participate in raffles and receive Apricot Lane gift cards.
While relevant, affordable fashion is a major focus of the people at Apricot Lane Boutique, it may come as a surprise that it’s not the only thing on their minds. The fashion boutique partakes in a unique “give-back” initiative through sales of its Humanity line. Twenty-five percent of the line’s sales go back to the company, which then distributes the funds among worthy causes such as disaster relief and medical research.
When asked why she thought that Apricot Lane was a good fit for Summit and its residents, Schwierk answered, “I think it’s a good fit for Summit just because you see so many mother and daughters or girlfriends walking around. It’s a family and friends shopping experience—something for everyone!”
For more information, visit the store’s local website at Apricot Lane Summit.