Sisters think boutique has a winning formula
By CHRIS CHANCELLOR
Port Orchard Independent Staff Writer
July 19, 2011 · Updated 12:11 PM
The store rests on Bay Street near several antique shops.
But Lallie Mae’s Chalet partners Jody Grutzeck and Tamela Mahood said the merchandise in their boutique is much different from the neighbors.
Grutzeck, 44, and Mahood, 53, opened their 800-square foot shop at 821 Bay St. in February.
“I think my sister and I have an eye for what is lacking in our area,” Grutzeck said. “We have a really unique style, and we like to add it into the things we recreate.”
Sometimes that involves transforming the simplest products.
“We’ll take perfume bottles and embellish them with beautiful jewels,” Grutzeck said. “People love it, but they won’t take the time to do it themselves.”
In addition to jewelry, Lallie Mae’s Chalet sells a variety of home-decor products, such as Chandeliers that come in many sizes. Grutzeck said the store also has “a blend of local artists” ranging from glasswork to seascape paintings.
Grutzeck and Mahood both worked at the New 2 You! variety mall at Towne Square Mall before opening Lallie Mae’s Chalet. Both said they were inspired by the late Denny Leighton, who opened that store in 2008. Grutzeck said Leighton preached the importance of quality — a motto she strives for with her store.
At one point, Grutzeck said she and her sister ran four booths at New 2 You!
“Being in business at New 2 You! has built up our confidence in business, but mostly in what we do,” she said. “I feel we have created for ourselves a reputation in a certain style we have grown to be known for.”
Grutzeck said Lallie Mae’s Chalet, which is named after their grandmother, only sells new and “gently used” items. Grutzeck said she acquires her items from a variety of sources, including wholesalers, and frequently travels across Puget Sound to buy them.
“We have both, since (childhood), loved scouring yard sales, Goodwills and flea markets for treasures of any kind, mostly vintage and anything we could add some paint or love to make it better and more beautiful,” she said.
In addition to those items that are redeveloped, both sisters also sell new products. One item Grutzeck said she particularly is excited to sell is Tokyo Milk Perfume, which is sold at higher-end stores such as Neiman Marcus. Grutzeck said her store has an exclusive agreement as the only seller in its zip code.
Eventually, Mahood said she would like to move into a larger space on Bay Street that includes an eatery featuring healthy food.
Grutzeck said that idea, along with the current setup, is about catering to a different clientele in downtown Port Orchard.
“We thought Bay Street really needed something like this, especially with all of the boaters,” she said. “The people in Port Orchard think nothing goes on down here, but they’re wrong. It’s a wonderful little town and we get tons of tourists here from all over Washington and the world.”
Contact Port Orchard Independent Staff Writer Chris Chancellor at firstname.lastname@example.org or (360) 876-4414.