CocoRose Boutique - May / Jun 21
Courtney Colleary says there were a couple times last year when she thought events would force her to close CocoRose Boutique. “But then there would be a really good weekend in sales, and I would think to keep going a little longer. It was a hard roller coaster to ride.”
Like most Old Towne businesses, Courtney Colleary’s CocoRose Boutique flourishes on the pedestrian foot traffic along North Glassell Street–in this case, shoppers attracted by the latest fashions on display inviting them to step inside.
So, what happens when mandates imposed to help slow a pandemic force your storefront to close for what turned out to be 110-plus days? You pivot, shifting from in-person shopping to fulfilling online sales via curbside pickup or the mail. There also were the matters of re-evaluating return policies, dealing with suppliers confronted with delivery problems of their own and an assortment of other issues.
“It was definitely a roller coaster every day. You’re trying to please everyone, and at the same time trying to juggle and figure out everything on the back end,” recalls Colleary, who launched CocoRose in her hometown in 2013. “This store is my livelihood. Closing it was not even an option.”
The store’s Instagram–@cocoroseboutique–proved to be invaluable, says Jackie Gold, who started working at the boutique three years ago.
“It’s a great way to communicate with the community,” she adds. “We’ll post try-on videos when new clothing arrives, showing what it looks like and how it feels. It helps build personal relationships with our customers.”
While the majority of CocoRose fans are locals, the online presence has attracted customers from around the country, and even a few who live overseas.
On the other side of the coin, this past year went on without several events that help drive business, including the Coachella and Stagecoach music festivals and sorority happenings at Chapman and other universities. And while those cancellations resulted in “massive” financial hits to her business, Colleary says she was touched by an outpouring of community support.
“If people had the means to help, they would,” she says. “They came out of the woodwork to buy gift cards because they knew a purchase like that would make a difference. It was amazing.”
Another important development was the start of the Orange Plaza Paseo, which opened large sections of Glassell for an alfresco dining experience and brought prospective shoppers to the area.
“That was an absolute game-changer,” Colleary says. “This past year was tough, but going forward I have a little more hope in terms of the business and the community.”
160 North Glassell St, Old Towne Orange CA 92866 / 714-383-3884
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