A friend of fashionPublished 9:48am Monday, October 19, 2009
By JESSICA SIEFF
Niles Daily Star
A new venture in fashion has made its way to Main Street in downtown Niles.
Niles Styles is a new business and a joint venture in some respects, as owner Christine Hoffman has opened up the “upscale resale” shop featuring women’s fashions in everything from casual to business wear, jeans, shoes and accessories in the front end space of the already well established Beauty and Body Wellness on Main Street just off the corner of Front Street.
Hoffman has been living and working in southwest Michigan since 1994, after moving to Cass County from the Granger/Mishawaka area.
“Shortly after that move, I began a job at the Friend of the Court in Cassopolis,” she said. “I worked there for nearly 10 years until the State of Michigan made some budget cuts and my position was eliminated.”
With time on her hands, Hoffman took advantage of the opportunity to go back to college and obtain a degree.
“We also sold our home in Edwardsburg,” she said.
Hoffman and her husband rented a home in Niles and began building a new home in Niles township. They moved in after her graduation.
Niles Styles isn’t the first business venture for Hoffman.
“I have owned and operated my own business before,” she said. “When I first started college about 20 years ago I began a cleaning business because it gave me the flexibility to attend classes when they were offered.”
Hoffman said she has “always enjoyed fashion and I have always enjoyed finding a bargain.”
Through her acquaintance with the owner of Beauty and Body Wellness, Eugenia Apawu, Hoffman was given the opportunity to set up her own business in the front portion of the spa.
“I decided it was an opportunity I could not pass up,” Hoffman said. “Niles Styles will offer affordable and fashionable clothing and accessories. As a boutique we do not have ‘crammed’ shelves but rather a pleasant display of casual and dressy apparel.”
Before opening up, Hoffman said she did her homework and researched the business needs of the city, finding a 2005 Niles survey that she said “indicated that along with the need for more restaurants and financial institutions, women’s clothing ranked high on the list. I am happy to provide this much requested service. Even though space is limited the ladies will find the boutique atmosphere neat and organized.”
Shelves and hangars are already full with fall fashions and Hoffman said there is plenty more inventory that she has kept at home and will bring in slowly, adding to a revolving selection.
“Our concept of upscale resale is to allow ladies to shop the best of resalable clothing with a mix of new,” she said. “Busy ladies want to look and feel nice but they don’t always have the time to put an outfit together.”
Looking into the future, Hoffman said she’s planning on giving customers the opportunity to create a ‘wish list’ of what they’re looking for and hopes to create a mailing list as well as build future selections “in line with their wants and needs.”
Niles Styles is located at 105 E. Main St. in Niles.