Fashion and life the familiar way

In the quant historic town of Hudson, Ohio, thoughtfully placed between the old and the new downtown, a fresh and flirty boutique called AR2 has bloomed. The store is decorated beautifully; it’s eclectic with a fresh modern twist and it has a great aesthetic feeling while you are inside. 

With an Anthropology-esque concept and a whole lot of high fashion love, Amy Cook and Rita Stitzel have breathed life into their long-awaited brainchild, a collaboration of a high end retail boutique. Carrying everything from Rag and Bone dresses and colorful lush accent rugs to delicious smelling candles, AR2 has a little something for every chic woman in town. 

Cook and Stitzel both decided quite some time ago that they wanted to open a store like AR2, so when they opportunity arose, they jumped on it. Since Cook lives in Hudson (literally down the street from the store) and Stitzel lives just outside of Hudson, the town seemed like the perfect location for AR2. Hudson is a close community, and that is the type of feeling they wanted for their store. Most importantly, they wanted to open in the city because, “We just want to support Hudson.”

Guidance came from Cook’s sister, a fashion designer living in New York City. Their next step was to visit merchandise marts and find the specific lines they wanted to carry. The duo visited the Chicago mart and left with inspiration, direction and some killer fashion names.

Cook and Stitzel aim to carry some product lines that are familiar to shoppers and some that are not. Having a mix like this gives the customers a great variety, some thing that any consumer looks for. 

The pair loved the idea of being able to buy an outstanding outfit, some home decor, a book even, all in the same place, but most importantly wanted to create a place where a shopper could pick up something for her daughter. 

They want AR2 to be built around superior customer service and a sense of closeness and family importance, much like the entire city of Hudson. The main inspiration for this came from watching other mothers and daughters shopping together, particularly that moment when the daughter finds something special in the store and turns to her mother and asks, “What do you think?” The two AR2 owners aim to create a place where memories such as these can be created.

The owners also feel very strongly about letting the customers know that they are welcome to ask questions. They said, “If we don’t have what the customer wants - whether it be a style, color, brand etc. - we will look for it and get it for them.”

They would also like to help educate shoppers on the lines and products and eventually let customers be the ones who help buy for the store through their wants and needs. 

They would like to empower the community of Hudson and would like to welcome everyone to AR2. They really want to get to know their customers and want to buy for them, essentially becoming personal shoppers for the clients and help with their closets or homes. If they can deliver home decor or even just come to a customer’s home to help them enhance their closets, they will.

Cook and Stitzel’s next move is to create a website. They would like to get a read on what people want and grow from there. Seeing as how practically the entire world is functioning on the internet and through social networking, the duo feels this would be the best next move for AR2.

The store’s official grand opening event will be held on September 8. The event is open to the public.

Monday, August 1, 2011