After spending more than a dozen years working retail in Naperville, Cindy Meals decided it was time to break out on her own.
About a month ago she opened Bella Caley, a boutique for women at 20 W. Jefferson St.
"It's a one-stop shop for women. We have cute tops, jewelry, gift items and some home decor," Meals said.
The business owner, a former longtime employee of the Canterbury Shoppe in Naperville, said the main focus of the new business is clothing.
An array of dresses, shirts and jeans are a highlight at the shop, which features Dish, a popular Canadian line of denim. The Dish jeans run about $110.
Meals said it is important to fill the shop with clothing that's different from what's found at other retailers at prices that are affordable.
She said the store is similar to boutiques shoppers would find in downtown Chicago or New York with a hand-picked selection of merchandise for women of all ages.
"It has the feel of a city boutique without the high prices," she added.
Getting the business going was a family affair. She said her husband, Chris, assisted behind the scenes. He serves as chief risk officer for TCF Inventory Finance in Barrington.
Their daughter, Caley, and son, Ryan, also assist in operating the new shop. Meals explains that her previous retail experience has helped her launch the business during an economic downturn.
"I know what people are looking for. And I know I have to provide things in the store that people want at prices that they can afford," she said.
The location, the former Naperville Running store, is also an asset, the owner said.
"You have to be smart at a time like this. The economy will pick up," she added.
Employing family and trusted employees is another important focus for the business owner.
The shop is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Wednesday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.
For more, check out bellacaley.com.