Our roundup of the latest Natick, Mass., business news:
Stay Fashion Boutique opens
It’s not every day I venture into a women’s clothing & accessories store (as my wife can assure you), but I popped into Stay Fashion Boutique when I noticed something looked different at the Mill Street Plaza in between the convenience store and nail salon. Store owner Regiane de Araujo immediately made me feel welcome when I introduced myself, and shared the story of how her shop came to be.
De Araujo opened her store in June, seeking to catch people before they headed off on summer vacations. “People want to make sure they have something new when they go away,” she said.
She bought the business, which had been in downtown Framingham, and moved it to Natick. The first-time shop owner left her long-hours job in translation services this spring to make a career change that will combine her love of fashion and talking to people.
Stay Fashion offers everything from shoes to belts and blouses to gowns and more casual dresses, all presented in a bright and welcoming shop. The business is cranking up its online presence as well.
De Araujo moved to the United States from São Paulo 19 years ago with an education in international business and a desire to learn English by immersing herself in the Boston area. Now she goes back to Brazil mainly to vacation and visit family and friends, and to shop for new inventory (her sister was visiting from Brazil when I popped in the shop).
De Araujo, who has lived in Natick since 2012, says one of her sons graduated from the Natick school system and now serves in the U.S. Navy, while her younger son is still in school. She says she loves the convenience of Natick, both in terms of being near her favorite Brazilian shops and restaurants in Framingham, and close enough to Boston.
Stay Fashion carries mainly Brazilian-inspired clothing and accessories inherited from the earlier location, but de Araujo plans to diversify her inventory with styles from around the globe, including Europe, China, and South America.
She emphasized that Stay Fashion’s offerings for women and girls are unique: You might find different sizes of the red top she held out for me, but only one in each size. “Women don’t want to see everyone else wearing the same thing they’re wearing,” she says.
Select Board denies liquor store move
Both the Natick Select Board and representatives from Austin Liquors Too expressed frustration this past week over the process that has spanned the past few months related to the business’s application to change its name and move its location. Austin’s seeks to move from its 212 North Main St., location, where its lease is running out, to 45 Worcester St. (Rte. 9 west), currently occupied by Bernie & Phyl’s, which has been trying hard to vacate the spot.
In the end, the Board at its July 14 meeting denied the application, citing among other things a lack of public need for the business when there is another liquor store across the road (albeit, a divided highway). Select Board member Michael Hickey, reflecting on time spent by himself and fellow member Kathryn Coughlin on the town’s Zoning Board of Appeals, said at one point “we’ve seen some messy applications before,—this isn’t the worst but it hasn’t been pleasant.” Still, he said the determining factor for him was not seeing a real “public want.”
Austin’s Michael Cimini said there will be “dark time” between when the current business needs to leave its location and open at another one, and this would result in layoffs. The business is allowed to reapply for permission to move into the new location.
Labs & Taylor?
HMC Investments has announced plans to convert some of its former Lord & Taylor stores, including at Natick Mall, into bio lab space. We didn’t think Shopper’s Find, the current Lord & Taylor replacement at Natick Mall, was long for this world.
Natick is already deep into a process of addressing a bid to convert the Neiman Marcus space at the mall into lab space, much to the chagrin of those who live in the adjacent condos. The town doesn’t have a dedicated biosafety body as do dozens of other communities across the state, but might be heading in that direction if these sorts of conversion requests keep coming.
Ya gotta Regatta
Speaking of the Natick Mall, among its newest stores is one on the upper level called Regatta. This UK store sells clothing and accessories for the great outdoors.