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New Normal: What to expect when shopping in a boutique clothing store

Story by Stacie Gaetz

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Photos by iStock

There has never been a better time for boutique shopping than now.

Personalized one-on-one customer service in a small locally owned shop with fewer patrons is appealing to many people as stores open back up.

Airdrie boasts a number of boutique-style stores. Here we talk to the owners of two women’s clothing shops to see what customers can expect now that their doors are open.

Allison Anhorn is the owner of ZIVA&EM Boutique, located off of Yankee Valley Boulevard.

The store has been open for two years and Anhorn said the switch to an online model while the store was closed due to the pandemic was a bit of a learning curve.

“It’s hard for us because many of our clientele want to try things on,” she said.

She added that now that they can open their doors, they have implemented a number of procedures and measures to keep staff and customers safe.

Shoppers are asked to use hand sanitizer when they come in the door and have the option to wear gloves and/or a mask. They are allowed to try things on in the store, after which Anhorn steams the clothing.

In addition to her new online shop, Anhorn is hosting private shopping from 4 pm to 6 pm Monday through Friday to accommodate those who are not comfortable coming in when the store is open to the public.

“Local people are coming back and supporting me and I want to make them feel comfortable in any way I can,” she said, adding residents can call the shop at 403-980-4588 to book a private shopping time.

“I didn’t want anyone to feel they couldn’t come for any reason.”

Seven Saints Boutique has been in business for five years as they originally operated out of a mobile fashion boutique in a vintage motor home.

Owner Erin Hardy opened a brick and mortar store in Cooper’s Crossing almost two years ago. Hardy said she had to lay off her staff when she was forced to close her doors in March.

“To stay relevant during this time, we pivoted to promote our online store, making pick-up and delivery and buying as easy as possible, as well as ramped up our online presence even more,” she said.

Seven Saints opened up on May 14 and has implemented a number of safety procedures including a hand sanitizer station for when a customer walks in, another at the counter, social distancing measures and sanitizing all clothes that are tried on with a steamer.

“We felt so much love and support during the 48 days that we were closed and want our customers to know that as we re-open we are not doing this lightly, the safety of those who have kept us going throughout this is our top priority, said Hardy.

“If you are choosing us, we feel so incredibly blessed by that, and want you to know the steps we are taking to keep you safe.”

The store is also providing private shopping opportunities by calling 403-768-0484.

“The community response has been fantastic! We have felt very supported and very loved during this time,” said Hardy.

“In a period where things could have felt very bleak, we have been constantly reminded why we are doing what we do.”