2.28.2011

Violet's, Stella's combine

Published in The Saratogian Feb. 21.

Sister stores Violet’s and Stella’s have traded being neighbors for full-on roommate status.

The stores, both owned by Laura Farrar, offer women’s clothing and shoes, respectively. Farrar opened Stella’s last March to complement Violet’s, the 4-year-old clothing boutique where she had gained a loyal local following, Farrar said. Both were located in the Collamer Building, a few doors down from each other.

As her lease at 482 Broadway (Violet’s) expired this year, Farrar moved to combine both stores under one roof, into the plush shoe boutique at 494 Broadway — a former knitting shop that she gave a hefty makeover to last winter.

“I knew down the road we’d eventually combine the two stores,” Farrar said. “I’m excited for our merger. It will make it more efficient for customers as well as the business owner, for me.”

Having to pay half the overhead means she can spend more on shopping for spring lines and keep the racks full of fresh merchandise, Farrar said.

Also, there will be no more running down the street to grab a pair of shoes from Stella’s that would perfectly complement a dress being tried on by a customer at Violet’s, she said.

All of Violet’s merchandise is now available at 494 Broadway, and the businesses will now be known by one new name: “Violet’s & Stella’s of Saratoga.”

Established downtown businesses moving locations and reopening elsewhere on Broadway or nearby has been a trend of late — La Sartoria and Rockabella are two of the most recent examples.

Vincent Montesano, owner of La Sartoria, is in the process of getting his Italian suit shop up and running again for spring. He moved from his longtime home in the Algonquin building late last year and is now located at

489 Broadway, above the tattoo parlor and near the post office.

Montesano is currently offering custom-made suits and shirts that he makes in the store.

Earlier this month, Rockabella Boutique moved off Broadway and opened at 10 Lake Ave., where the rent is cheaper, according to owner Jackie Szurek. It’s all part of her plan to be a “destination” for special-occasion shoppers.

Farrar says she wouldn’t leave Broadway because her walk-in traffic is the bread and butter of her business — a major difference between her and Szurek.

“Our rent is, relatively speaking, similar to others in the area (on Broadway),” Farrar said.

New tenants are expected to move in quickly at the old Violet’s location and at the former ICU Optical Studio next door, which was vacated last week.

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