When you walk into Chloe Urban Chic Boutique on Smith Street, you might forget you’re in Union City. The new boutique features the swanky, sophisticated look and high-end women’s fashion found in Santana Row — but without the inflated price tags.
“We’ve done our market research for what’s reasonable for this city,” said Dinah Retodo, co-owner of the price-conscious boutique. “We’re not going to put Union Square prices in Union City.”
Located at 3904 Smith St., Chloe offers boutique lines such as Rehab, showcases up-and-coming local designers and provides great deals on name brands through their “pre-loved” consignment collection. Items include everything from dresses and heels to crocheted beanies and handcrafted jewelry.
“When shopping at Chloe, we want you to be chic and unique,” Retodo and co-owner Cheryl Reyes said.
Most of the items carried are exclusive to the boutique and can’t be found at department stores. The owners also carry limited quantities of each item so customers won’t have to worry about bumping into someone with the same outfit.
“We try to keep things unique, not items that are mass produced,” Retodo said.
Most items range from $30 to $50 for dresses, shoes and bags, with smaller accessories costing less. There are also a few higher priced consignment pieces as well, such as an Express faux fur coat selling for $150 and a hand-beaded dress from Italy for $100 — still bargains compared to their original retail cost.
“People think it’s going to be expensive, but they look at the price and say, ‘I can afford this,’” Retodo said.
Open since September, Retodo and Reyes celebrated the grand opening of the store on Oct. 6. It was a high-profile affair with many local leaders in attendance.
“As a small business owner of over 13 years, I am proud to support fellow women small business owners in our neighborhoods,” said optometrist Dr. Jennifer Ong, a candidate in the recent California Assembly District 20 race, in a statement following the ceremony. “Small businesses provide two out of three jobs in our communities, and I know Dinah and Cheryl will highlight up and coming local talent.”
Since its opening, the store has seen a number of customers who have praised the business, the owners said.
“A lot of customers say, ‘It’s about time we have something like this,’” Retodo said.
The store is the only women’s boutique of its kind in Union City.
Longtime residents of Union City, Retodo and Reyes said they’d always had their eye on Smith Street as a location because of its downtown feel. Like the City of Union City envisions, the entrepreneurial duo said they hope to see a revitalization of Old Alvarado and make the strip the new “hot spot.”
Though the idea for the boutique sprouted in January, the seeds were planted when the two became friends at James Logan High School. Both had interests in fashion, with Reyes going to the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising after high school.
When the two reunited several years later, they learned they’d both kept one foot in the fashion industry while pursuing other careers and decided to start their business together.
“Why wait until we retire?” Reyes said.
The two said they hope to create their own brand eventually but, for now, will focus on showcasing talented designers in the area and making their business successful.
While online retailers have created stiff competition for independent boutique owners, Reyes and Retodo said they aren’t worried. Their friendly customer service, the exclusivity of their products and the inviting atmosphere are big draws for customers.
“You can’t get that experience when you’re shopping online,” Reyes said.
Chloe Urban Chic Boutique is located at 3904 Smith St. The store is open Wednesday through Friday from noon to 7 p.m., Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. Chloe is closed Mondays and Tuesdays.