August 28, 2013 - If you're looking to buy name brand clothing like Ann Taylor Loft, J-Crew, Banana Republic and much more at inexpensive prices, look no further than The Boulevard Boutique, located in downtown Oxford at 5 S. Washington St.
Sue Oles, owner of The Boulevard Boutique, is happy to have her upscale consignment shop downtown. Photo by Trevor Keiser. (click for larger version)
"The Boulevard Boutique is an upscale consignment shop for those looking to shop on a budget," said owner Sue Oles, who originally started the business in her basement.
After graduating from Oakland University with a degree to be a paralegal, Oles' life took a turn when she decided to start a Mary Kay business.
"I never thought I would be in Mary Kay. That's not what I went to college for, but it took off and six months later I was driving a free car and I was helping women run their own businesses," she said. "I was teaching women how to be financially secure. That's what I loved."
While working full-time with Mary Kay to put two kids through college – one more to go – Oles found another need among her clients.
"Women were saying they had clothes in their closet that were too good to donate, but they would never wear them," she said. "I said 'consign them to me.' When they started consigning them to me, this business grew."
"Women would come in (to my house) and have a Mary Kay facial and I would take their (cosigned) clothes," continued Oles. "Then I would clothe women who wanted to dress nice, but couldn't afford it."
Finally, it was Oles 25-year-old daughter who "pushed her out onto M-24" because she saw a need for an upscale resale shop in downtown Oxford.
"I moved out (here) on M-24 (three months ago) scared to death, but I can't believe how this community has embraced this business," she added. "I've been in this town for over 25 years and love how the people and the other businesses have just embraced me."
"The Boulevard Boutique has great prices, great quality merchandise, is one of a kind, unique and has a very friendly atmosphere," said frequent shopper Jacquie Savich. "If you want it, you can find it in here and if you can't find it, she will go get it for you, but if you don't take it when you're in here, it will be gone the next day."
Oles says she carries sizes ranging from petite all the way up to 3X.
"It's hard to buy nice clothing for the bigger lady, so I have that department, too," she noted.
While the store is mainly for women shoppers or men wanting to shop for their special ladies, Oles does carry name brands for both teenage girls and boys like American Eagle, Hollister and Ambercrombie & Fitch.
"I think it's important that teens know they can buy name brand jeans here for just $10," she said. "I don't have men stuff yet, but if I feel like I could carry men, then I would do that."
Not only does the store carry a wide-variety of clothing, but Oles also offers the accessories to go with them including, jewelry, purses, handbags and shoes.
"I even have Wildcat Wear," she noted.
As far as how consignment works, Oles said women who think they have upscale name-brand clothes they thought they spent too much on and won't wear can bring them to the store.
"You bring them to me and when we sell them, you get 40 percent back," she said. "It's a win-win because normally you're going to donate them or give them away."
Oles gives those selling their clothes the option of taking cash for their 40 percent or shopping with it.
"I'm going to say 90 percent of the women turn around and shop because it's like free shopping," she added. "Anything I don't take I will ask that person coming in if I can give it to Love INC."
Love INC (Love in the Name of Christ) is a local nonprofit that, among other things, provides clothing to those in need.
"It's run by (churches) here in town," she said. "I like the fact they don't sell (the clothing), but give it to (those in need)."
Oles also loves to donate to various school organizations and offers her shop for fund-raisers.
"If an organization wants to, I will close on an evening and they can invite their group in and I give a percentage back to the organization on what I sell," she said. "I also do 'Girls Night Out.' If they're looking for a girls night out, I will provide the wine and the hors d'oeuvres and they can come shopping for an evening."
The store is open Tuesday and Wednesday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Thursday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
"Mondays we are closed, but I do consignments during day by appointment and in the evening I do Mary Kay glamour and skin care for free by appointment."
While many businesses have come and gone throughout Oxford, Oles hopes The Boulevard Boutique will become a staple in the downtown community.
"I'll stay as long as we get the support," she said.
For more information, call (248) 408-1096 or visit on-line at www.theboulevardboutique.com. Find them on Facebook, too.
Trevor graduated with degrees in English and communications from Rochester College. He wrote for his college and LA View newspapers before joining The Clarkston News in May 2007.