Now is the time that Sandy Moore looks forward to. The holiday shopping season is here and things get a little bit crazy but in a good way.
For six years, Moore’s business AliKat has been offering shoppers in Glen Ellyn distinctive items not found in department stores or shops downtown.
As the store celebrated its sixth anniversary this year, it also celebrated its expansion, taking over some additional space that allowed Moore to bring in new products, expand product lines and provide dressing rooms for customers. The boutique now feels more organized and customer friendly, she said.
“I would like people who may have not visited us in a while, I want them to come in and see us,” Moore said.
After 20 years in the financial service industry, Moore took time off while her children—Ali and Kaitlin, inspiration for the name AliKat—were in grade school so she could be a part of their lives. When they were old enough, Moore began exploring business ideas that would be flexible with her lifestyle.
When she first opened her store, she didn’t offer a lot of apparel, because she was trying to determine what Glen Ellyn’s downtown didn’t have but needed, and also what customers wanted.
“We were more gift, teen and women oriented, then people started saying ‘clothes, clothes, clothes,’” she said. Now, the boutique is known for women’s clothing.
“I am always looking for something I haven’t seen anywhere else. Niche brands,” she said. “I don’t want to carry what others sell in town.”
While the store has a wide range of customers, it isn’t unusual for mothers and daughters to be shopping at AliKat together, she said.
When the store first opened, Moore and two employees ran the store. Now she has seven part-time employees.
She tries to keep things fresh, scouting for new products and lines, looking for ways to do things differently in the store and ways she can give back in the community.
The store offers special shopping days for clubs and organizations, and offers 15 percent off for employees who work downtown. Some recent promotions included offering 15 percent off for people who shopped wearing their “I Voted” sticker and shoppers who wore pink in support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
“We have a really good, loyal customer base,” Moore said. The boutique draws shoppers from all over the area.
She credits Marcel’s Culinary Experience owner Jill Foucré with helping to make downtown a destination for shoppers who patronize other businesses.
The downtown benefits from having businesses offering shoppers a variety of products, she said.
The holidays are sure to be as busy as ever and Moore is looking forward to Ladies Night Out—the shop is selling tickets for the event—which has been very successful in the past. In addition, over the holiday shopping weekend and during the holiday shopping season, AliKat will have special discounts and special promotions.
“I love the variety of things I get to do,” Moore said. “And, I love the customers.”