For a clothing boutique that caters to women in their 20s through their mid-50s, it seems only natural for a mother and daughter to be running it.
Karen Hobbs will open Omaha's first Apricot Lane Boutique in early June at One Pacific Place, 10381 Pacific St., with her daughter, Janeé Hobbs.
Janeé, 23, visited a close friend who was the assistant manager at an Apricot Lane in Kansas City, Mo., and came away loving everything about the store. She told her mom about the possibility of opening one in Omaha and, after looking into growth numbers, her mom thought it sounded like a good business model.
Karen Hobbs owned a beauty supply franchise in Omaha in the late 1980s and early 90s and has experience in human resources, finance and accounting.
“I have all of the business background, I can manage construction, manage books and those fun things while Janeé is busy selecting all of the fun clothes,” Karen Hobbs said.
Apricot Lane will sell women's apparel, including accessories, designer and non-designer fashions and gift items. The store is considered a “flexible franchise,” corporate spokeswoman Stacey Graham said, because it gives franchise owners freedom to make choices when it comes to merchandise and store design.
Janeé will manage the store, while Karen, who works full time for an Omaha software development company, will manage the business side of things and help out on weekends occasionally. The pair said they plan to eventually employ six to eight people.
The store also will host fashion parties of about 10 to 15 customers who will receive 20 percent off merchandise during the party or have that portion of sales donated to a charity.
Karen said they are planning a soft opening for June 6, followed by a grand opening June 28-30 that will feature an appearance from fashion blogger, author and style expert Lilliana Vazquez, discounts and a chance to win a $200 shopping spree.
Nebraska Furniture Mart had its single biggest sales day in its 76-year history May 4, thanks to thousands of Berkshire Hathaway shareholders who took advantage of discounts in every department and shopped and shopped some more, said Bob Batt, the electronics and furniture retailer's executive vice president.
“We do fine during every Berkshire annual meeting weekend,” Batt said. “But this one set a record.”
The biggest sellers were furniture and flooring, with Nebraska-based and out-of-town shareholders buying “beds, refrigerators, carpets and flooring,” he said.
Batt attributed the day's record sales to pent-up demand — the economy is improving and people are buying again — and the loyalty of Berkshire stockholders' who often feel a “solemn obligation to buy from a Berkshire brand.”
The Mart, which was founded in 1937 by Rose Blumkin, has been Berkshire-owned since 1983 when Warren Buffett paid $60 million for majority control of the business. The Mart continues to be run by family members.
Also moving forward: the Mart's construction of a third full-line store north of Dallas. When completed, the store will be the anchor for a 430-acre, $1.5 billion dining and entertainment center.
“We've begun grading the site and laying the foundation for the store,” Batt said. The store is expected to open in May 2015.
Designer Beads and Charms and its sister store, Adam Michael Jewelry, are moving this summer to Countryside Village Shopping Center near 87th and Pacific Streets from their current locations near 120th and Blondo Streets.
“Having the opportunity to get into Countryside Village is great for us. The larger store will allow us to combine Designer Beads and Charms with Adam Michael Jewelry under one roof,” said Adam Michael, who co-owns the store with his sister, Elisa Gerber.
Michael said the new, 5,600-square-foot store will open Aug. 1.
Folks who like to make their own jewelry will find beads, natural stones, sterling silver beads and other jewelry-making materials from all over the world.
“We don't offer classes, but I will sit with customers and teach them how to make jewelry,” Michael said.
Customers who prefer ready-to-wear jewelry or custom-designed jewelry also are in luck. The store carries brands such as Sara Blaine, Jorge Revilla, GemDrops, Kameleon and Trollbeads, as well as sorority and collegiate bracelets, NFL charms and watches.
Michael, a designer, also creates custom jewelry, including jewelry for wedding parties and other events, taking care, he said to make sure the pieces “hang just right and photograph well.”