Modblu Boutique settles into new home
When Kristen Carreiro opened clothing store Modblu Boutique on Reid Street, four years ago, there were few rental options in the City of Hamilton.
By January it was clear that times had changed. With so many stores closing, many more spaces became available.
But the moment she saw a space on the ground floor of the Emporium Building at 69 Front Street, she knew she had found her new address.
She was only one block south of her original location, but the rent was better. The location promised more foot traffic from busy Flanagan’s Irish Pub upstairs, and from the cruise ships across the street, when they were in port.
“Plus, Salt and Cedar is across from me and we share some of the same customers,” she said.
The downside was that the new location was a little smaller, but even that had its positive, as Ms Carreiro and assistant buyer Princine Bailey could rotate their time in the store, giving each more time to spend with their young families, she said.
Almost as soon as she had the keys to the new place in March, the island went into lockdown during the pandemic.
“I had to lock the doors and go home,” she said.
The biggest disappointment for her was not being able to do a big reveal.
“I know we’re not a new store, but still I wanted to show off our new space,” she said.
But she had to bite the bullet when she started receiving a slew of calls asking for her new location or asking if she had closed.
“I just had to take the paper down from the windows,” she said. “At that time we were doing kerbside pick-up, but at least people could look inside and see what we had.”
Now that Modblu is open again, she is already seeing the promised extra foot traffic.
“We are definitely seeing some new faces,” she said.
The parking lot across the street helps. Already one customer has told her that she has been following Modblu on social media for over a year but never visited the Reid Street location because she didn’t like parallel parking.
Ms Carreiro said the pandemic helped to show her and Ms Bailey that they were headed in the right direction.
“I was grateful for the lower overheads during the pandemic,” she said.
She was also happy Ms Bailey convinced her to set up a website over a year ago. At the time they thought it might generate more foot traffic to the Reid Street location during the sticky summer months.
At first, Ms Carreiro was not sure they had done the right thing by setting up the website.
“We weren’t getting that many sales from it,” she said. “I thought maybe this isn’t worth it because there are fees associated with it.”
But when the Covid-19 crisis hit, she was more than a little grateful she had the website.
“If we didn’t have that website it would have been terrible for us,” she said.
After lockdown the website allowed customers to pick out what they wanted from her stock and place their orders, and pick it up outside the store.
“What do stores do if they only have a phone and e-mail,” Ms Carreiro wondered.
Since the pandemic Ms Carreiro has seen retail trends change.
“Definitely casual sales have been where it is at,” she said. “At first, everyone wanted cosy things to wear because they were at home. Lately, people have been asking for more formal clothes as things have been going back to normal. We missed out on our prime sales time at the end of March and April so a lot of our spring items didn’t get a chance to shine.”
Now, they are doing a brisk trade in swimwear.
“A lot of people are here on the island that would normally go away in the summer,” Ms Carreiro said. “We have swimwear from size extra small to 3X. It is all on sale.”
For more information see www.modblubermuda.com or call 261-3250
Premier apologises for $800,000 loan
Premier approved $800,000 loan to Blakey
Police release description of sex attacker
Helping children having problems
Take Our Poll