WESTFIELD — While the global pandemic has caused several small businesses to close over the past year, Downtown Westfield has one store that recently opened because of the stay-at-home orders.
Southwick resident Melissa R. Tessier held a grand opening last week at A Sophisticated Boutique, a women’s clothing store at 28 Main St., Westfield. She described the shop as a longtime dream of hers that only came to life because her other business dried up because of COVID-19 restrictions.
Tessier also owns Sophisticated Events, which plans and manages dance competitions around the country. With in-person events banned in most states starting in spring 2020, Tessier suddenly had time to consider a new venture.
“It gave me the opportunity to think about the next step in my life,” Tessier said. “Having a small boutique shop just really appealed to me.”
It’s also appealed to the customers who walked in while Tessier was getting ready for her grand opening. She said they were impressed not only with the quality of the merchandise, but also the personal attention they get from a small business.
“They’re part of a family,” said Tessier. “They’re not just customers. They become friends.”
Tessier said she looks for high-quality, stylish clothes, which she purchases from the fashion houses of Los Angeles. She described her stock as “very unique clothes you’re not going to find in the mall.”
“I try to cater to all ages, from teenagers to ladies in their 20s, 30s and 40s,” she said. “It can go from a dressy look to a career look.”
Prices are “on target” for local shoppers, Tessier said.
Though her inventory will change from season to season, Tessier said she plans to keep a wide variety in stock, so that customers can still purchase warm-weather items for their winter travels.
As a Westfield native, Tessier knew the shop had to be downtown. She picked her storefront because it’s on Main Street within sight of Park Square.
Sophisticated Events will continue to run dance competitions as the COVID-19 pandemic subsides, said Tessier, though her long-term plan is for her daughter Katerina Richardson to take over the business. Tessier said she will still have a hand in the planning process, but Richardson will run the events in person.
“I love the children and I love planning the events,” said Tessier. “I just don’t love the travel.”
A Sophisticated Boutique is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays, with extended hours until 6 p.m. on Thursdays. Tessier said she plans to add hours in the future, as the business grows.