Grace Clothiers goes for upscale vibe
Throughout her 29-year career in which she held various positions in the retail industry, Laura Montecot-Fruth has always wondered what it would be like to have her own clothing store.
But the time was never right. Not until now, that is. Montecot-Fruth recently opened Grace Clothiers on Main Street, hoping to infuse her sense of style into town.
"I always had customers asking me why I didn’t open my own store," she said. "And I just wasn’t ready. It’s a big commitment and it takes a lot of money. But my husband retired this year, and we thought about what to do, and this space came available and I just loved it. It’s almost like it just sort of happened."
Though Montecot-Fruth is still in the process of putting the finishing touches on the store, which has been open for nearly two weeks, her labor is already bearing fruit. She is finding there is a sense of satisfaction when she helps a customer find exactly what he or she came for.
"It’s rewarding to see a woman or a man walking out of here with beautiful clothes that they really enjoy and knowing they will come back," she said. "They can be sure that I can give them the best I have for their shape and taste. It’s not about what I do — it’s about the customer that comes through the door and how they feel when they shop with me."
Being able to ensure customers leave with what they want — from both the products she’s offering, and the shopping experience she provides — was not a process that happened overnight. Before opening, Montecot-Fruth deliberated about what she wanted the store to be, eventually deciding to provide practical clothing that’s appropriate for Park City but would also be fashionable in Los Angeles or New York City.
"You have to gauge what course you’re going to take with your clothing," Montecot-Fruth said.
Then, there was the matter of making that vision a reality. She scoured fashion trade magazines to discover this winter’s trends, keying in on factors such as color, shape and design. It culminated in a trip to New York City to actually buy the clothes from vendors. Through it all, she had to consider the market she’ll be selling to — Park City locals and tourists.
"To me, the biggest thing is finding the right pieces for the customer, so they can be very happy," Montecot-Fruth said. "That’s the goal."
Though it was the most important factor, finding the right clothes was only part of the equation. Montecot-Fruth worked tirelessly to transform the store into a space that would fit the experience she was trying to create. The vision was a store that felt modern and upscale — high ceilings with exposed air vents create an industrial vibe, as well. But that atmosphere needed to be balanced and understated to ensure nothing took away from the visual impact of the clothes on the sales floor.
Getting there wasn’t a simple task.
"At times, it was overwhelming," Montecot-Fruth said. "Sometimes you have people working on the store, and their vision is different than your vision. That part was difficult, but everything else has just been a dream. It’s very beautiful, to me. I love the colors and the modern feel of it. It makes me feel like I’m back in New York."
The response to the store has been positive so far, Montecot-Fruth said. While she’s anticipating traffic to get heavier when the busy season gets going on Main Street, customers have already indicated the store is a good fit for Park City.
"People are interested in coming in," she said. "Before we even opened, I had women who wanted to buy purses. I was trying to figure out a way to sell them because I didn’t have my system set up yet. So that was cool. It gave me a boost of confidence."
751 Main Street
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Another ski season is in the books, and much to the relief of the restaurant industry, the outlook, like the weather, is looking sunny.