“Look before you leap” is advice that skydivers, bungee jumpers and frogs swear by – and so does accountant Christy “Crissy” Harris. She opened Crissy’s Boutique at the beginning of April, but only after planning her career change for almost a decade.
“I’ve been an accountant for 25 years, and I’m not a risk-taker. My daughter (Jennifer Warren), who has a background in retail, and I have tossed around business ideas for years, but never came up with any that I felt comfortable with until this one,” Harris said. “Last November, I was in a job that had me working 20 hours a day, and I couldn’t keep that up. I ended up resigning.”
An Ohio native, Harris lives in Taylorsville with her husband, Joe, who owns an electrical contracting business. The boutique is very much a family affair: Warren lives in Bardstown, but drives to Louisville to help her mother run the shop; and several relatives did much of the renovating that the former weight-loss store needed.
“This must have been meant to happen because everything fell into place,” Harris said. “There haven’t been any glitches. We’ve done it all on our own, so we haven’t had to worry about any loans.”
Friends worried at first that Crissy’s Boutique wouldn’t attract enough shoppers because it is tucked around the left side of the shopping complex that also houses Dee’s Crafts and Stein Mart. However, the location has proven to have two advantages.
“This side usually isn’t retail, but it hasn’t been as big a challenge as we thought it would. The JoAnn Fryrear School of Dance is next door and there are ball fields across the way, so we carry children’s accessories,” Harris said. “We wanted a store that has things you can’t find at the mall. And since we like supporting local people, we carry reversible fabric headbands made by Crystal Hoskins and button bracelets by Jayne’s Chains.”
With Apple Bottoms jeans, summer dresses and blingy baubles, Crissy’s Boutique is attracting the attention of curious customers. Harris has made it her goal to offer clothing and gift items that fit just about anyone’s budget.
“I think that has helped us do better than most people do when they open a store. I’ve met so many customers and people who make things, so it’s fun – a lot more so than my accounting work,” she said. “I wouldn’t go back to an office setting. It’s better to be working for myself.”
Crissy’s Boutique, 5031 Shelbyville Road, is open 10 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday-Friday and noon-5 p.m Saturday; closed Sunday. For information, call 502.899.2808 or visit the store’s Facebook page.
photos by Mary Alan Woodward | contributing photographer
Category: Business Profile