After a 17-year career as a department manager and buyer for a major Northwest retailer, Amy Peters put those skills to work to open a neighborhood store of casual lifestyle clothes for women, men and children called Industrie Clothiers.
The business opened about eight months ago in 1,300 square feet of space off Harrison Avenue in west Olympia. Her store feels much roomier than the actual store dimensions, largely because of its high ceilings. In addition to a showroom, it also has dressing rooms, bathrooms and storage space upstairs.
And in just eight months, she’s employed four and now has her sights set on opening a store in Salem, Oregon, wanting to do something for friends and family in her home state.
Peters, 41, grew up in Monmouth, Oregon, later attended Oregon State University (those are the Beavers, not the Ducks, she was quick to say), and then went to work for Nordstrom, managing various departments at Nordstrom stores in Oregon, before moving to Seattle to be a buyer for its rack and regular stores.
Eventually she had to make a decision between the demands of the job and wanting to start a family, so she said goodbye to Nordstrom and relocated to Olympia with her husband and two children.
She had nothing but praise for Nordstrom, saying the company is good to its employees and promotes the right culture, plus it provided an excellent training ground for the world of retail.
“I loved what I did,” Peters said.
Once in Olympia, though, she discovered that clothiers here were mostly geared to the youth market, such as Forever 21 at Capital Mall.
“It didn’t appeal to me,” said Peters, realizing that there was probably an opportunity to serve an underserved market, such as moms like herself.
The store has an area where children can play so that a busy mom can take a moment to do a little shopping, Peters said.
Her clothes range from $14 to $100, and when a supplier offers her a discount, she simply passes that on to the consumer, she said.
And more business is likely on the way because of the growing interest in her surrounding location.
Industrie Clothiers is in a recently renovated retail building that also is home to Blue Heron Bakery, and that same building reportedly is set to welcome a Mexican restaurant.