In towns across America, going out of business signs continue to going up and signify that the economy has taken down yet another small shop. Katonah has not been immune to the situation, and one such posting seems to indicate that another long time staple has succumbed. “Boo Girls closing Here,” encompasses the pane facing Katonah Avenue, but “here” is the operative word – given that everywhere will soon amount to its new storefront. Taking the dress selling digital, says proprietor Gaynor Scott, “I’m not going out of business. I’m taking advantage of a new opportunity.” In this, she refers to a sea change in shopping that no longer requires or desires a lift from mom to get a look at the latest. “They are all shopping online,” says Scott of how the younger generation goes about their business.
Of course, that will leave the older generation a bit out in the cold. “How are my going to touch things, feel things and try things on, “Scott says is their lament. But that take away isn’t only contained to the older generation. In turn, Scott hopes she has found a 21st Century fix that helps make up for the fall of her four walls, and the three dimensional interaction that will go with it. “I’ve spoken to a web designer who is developing a program that’s interactive, so you can talk to customers online, see them and visually suggest clothing,” she says. Stationed in front of her CRT in the office space to be, she is certain the customer service of the current day will be compatible enough to how she has operated for the last 20 years.
“It’s just a new way of doing commerce,” says Scott. That said, Scott concedes it will be a little more isolating as traffic measured in cookies won’t be as compelling as the sound of the glass door swinging open. On the other hand, she jokes, “There won’t be as much folding.” Nonetheless, Scott won’t be alone, and the main company she keeps will allow the Katonah resident to defer for the time being on the limits of her generational disadvantage. That’s where Boo Girls store manager Sydney Schwab comes in. “I asked her if she wanted to partner with me, and do this, so I have somebody who’s young and internet savvy.” Even so, will this transition capture our information and add more annoying delete clicks to our already overburdened carpel tunnel condition. “I intend to market it very specifically to my customers,” she says. With a large, loyal client base, she believes they will go online and buy the products they’ve long been pleased with. At the same time, the obvious drop in structural overhead has to make things all the more easy for Scott. Not really, she says, “I don’t have the high rent, but I have a lot more advertising so this might actually be more expensive.” Still, the prices points will remain static.
“It will be around $50 for tops, $70-$80 for jeans and $100 for dresses,” she says. But that’s not necessarily a function of the expense. “There’s a standard market for the industry, and you want it to be a comparable price. You don’t want to be seen as a discounter,” she says. Adding it all up means risk, and no matter how prepared or experienced, failure must be among the considerations. She sees it otherwise. “Not a phrase I ever use,” she says. “When I opened the store 20 years ago my friends said to me, ‘you’re crazy.’ It will never make it, and I’ve been through a lot for the last 20 years so I don’t intend to not succeed.” Launching in June, she’s eager to double down on the double negative. Look for Boo Girls’ new home at www.boogirlShop.com