Our roundup of the latest economic news from Natick, Mass.:
Opening of the Stay Fashion store
It’s not everyday that I venture into a women’s clothing and accessories store (as my wife can assure you), but I walked into Stay Fashion Boutique when I noticed that something Thing looked different at the Mill Street Plaza between the convenience store and the nail salon. The store owner, Regiane de Araujo, immediately greeted me warmly when I introduced myself and shared the story of how her shop was established.
De Araujo opened her store in June, looking to catch people before they go on summer vacation. “People want to make sure they have something new when they go,” she said.
She bought the business, which was in downtown Framingham, and moved it to Natick. The first-time store owner left her longtime 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 dresses and more casual dresses, all presented in a bright and welcoming boutique. The company is also strengthening its online presence.
De Araujo left São Paulo for the United States 19 years ago with a background in international business and a desire to learn English by immersing himself in the Boston area. Now she returns to Brazil mainly to vacation and visit family and friends, and to buy new stock (her sister was from Brazil when I entered the store).
De Araujo, who has lived in Natick since 2012, says one of his sons graduated from the Natick school system and is now serving in the US Navy, while his younger son is still in school. She says she loves the convenience of Natick, both in terms of being close to her favorite Brazilian boutiques and restaurants in Framingham, and fairly close to Boston.
Stay Fashion primarily offers Brazilian-inspired clothing and accessories inherited from the previous location, but de Araujo plans to diversify its inventory with styles from around the world, including Europe, China and South America.
She pointed out that Stay Fashion’s offerings for women and girls are unique: you might find different sizes of the red top she handed me, but only one in each size. “Women don’t want to see everyone wearing the same thing as them,” she says.
Select Board denies liquor store move
Natick Select’s board of directors and representatives from Austin’s Liquors Too expressed frustration last week with the process that has unfolded over the past few months regarding the company’s request to change its name and relocate. . Austin’s is looking to move from its location at 212 North Main St., where its lease expires, to 45 Worcester St. (Rte. 9 west), currently occupied by Bernie & Phyl’s, which is struggling to vacate the location.
Ultimately, at its July 14 meeting, the Commission denied the application, citing among other things a lack of public need for the business when there is another liquor store on the other side of the road (although it is a divided highway). Board member Michael Hickey, reflecting on the time he and his colleague Kathryn Coughlin spent on the city’s zoning appeal board, said at one point “we’ve seen applications before complicated, it’s not the worst but it was not the case”. it was pleasant. Still, he said the determining factor for him was not seeing a genuine “public need”.
Austin’s Michael Cimini said there would be a “dark period” between when the current company has to leave its location and open another, which would lead to layoffs. The business is allowed to reapply for permission to move into the new location.
Laboratories & Taylor?
HMC Investments has announced plans to convert some of its former Lord & Taylor stores, including at the Natick Mall, into biological laboratory space. We didn’t think Shopper’s Find, Lord & Taylor’s current replacement at the Natick Mall, was long for this world.
Natick is already deeply engaged in the process of responding to a bid to convert the mall’s Neiman Marcus space into lab space, much to the chagrin of those who live in adjacent condos. The city doesn’t have a dedicated biosecurity body like dozens of other communities across the state do, but could head in that direction if those kinds of conversion requests keep pouring in.
you have to race
Speaking of the Natick Mall, among its new stores is one on the upper level called Regatta. This British store sells clothing and accessories for the great outdoors.