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Dear Prudence – a jewelry, gifts and women’s apparel boutique – opens in Northville

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Women and people who shop for women will find a unique array of clothing, accessories and personal items at Dear Prudence, a new boutique store at 119 N. Center. Owners Prudence Kauffman and her husband Brad worked diligently with the store’s employees to open the store in time for “Girls Night Out” on Nov. 10.

The store’s merchandise is geared to women in their 20s to early 50s. “Our customers are women who want to be on trend and look cute without spending a ton of money,” Prudence said.

Most clothing items in the store range from $48 to $68. The store gets new inventory every week, and also carries gift items such as scented candles and greeting cards. The store has some exclusive contracts with small, local jewelry makers. Most items are made in the U.S.

Prudence purchases many items in Houston and South Carolina, with quick trips to Chicago, to stock the boutique with high-quality fashions. Among the women’s tops are flowing print blouses that are comfy and “boho” chic.

Of her merchandise, she says, “We complement other retailers in town and fill a niche that was not being previously addressed.”

Prudence cites three reasons why people should shop at her store this holiday season: stress-free (no hassle of mall shopping), unique items and affordability. “You’re not going to show up at a party and see someone else wearing the same thing,” she said.

Her top sellers for gift-giving are fleece-lined leggings, at $14; lace-topped boot socks, at $16; blanket scarves, at $24; and lace layering slips - worn under tops and dresses, at $36 and $38.

When looking for a community that values and supports small retail businesses, they found that Northville had everything they wanted. “Before opening, we talked to other stores and restaurants, and they confirmed that Northville would be a good place for our store,” Prudence said. “People are vested in shopping small and local, and it was absolutely perfect.

“Northville has a great sense of community. We like to be part of the community…to make donations and do things that help the community,” Prudence said.

DDA Director Lori Ward provided information about Northville and welcomed the Kauffmans as the newest downtown retailer. To make the store move-in ready, the Kauffmans gave it a cosmetic facelift with fresh paint, new plank flooring, new light fixtures and contemporary shelving. They also added a third dressing room.

The Kauffmans met at J. Crew, where they both worked while attending college to earn degrees in mechanical engineering. After graduation, they both worked as engineers. Prudence survived a close call with cancer five years ago. After that, the couple decided that life is too short and that Prudence should pursue her lifelong dream of opening a boutique. The Kauffmans opened their original boutique in Grand Rapids in 2011. They also have a store in Ann Arbor but plan to consolidate the merchandise into the Northville store after the holidays.



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