Small Business Spotlight: Squash Blossom
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By Zoe Seiler, contributor
Decatur, GA — Lisa Bobb has always dreamed of owning a boutique as she loves shopping, buying and putting together collections. She would buy items as gifts when traveling without knowing who would receive it. She had created her own little “store without a store,” she said.
Bobb is now the second owner of Squash Blossom, a boutique located on the Decatur square that has been open since 1999. There is also a smaller location in Grant Park with a subset of the same merchandise.
Bobb was laid off from her corporate job in 2015 and at the same time learned that the owners of Squash Blossom were ready to move on after running the store for 15 years. As a long time customer, Bobb knew the owners, was able to buy the store and has been the owner for the past five years.
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“It was always something I thought I would be good at, I would enjoy doing it and it would never feel like work,” Bobb said. “It’s an opportunity to be creative and interact with individual women in a really creative and intimate way. Because when women are shopping, especially for themselves, they share what’s going on in their lives. They trust you with how they feel about their bodies. You’re collaborating with them to make them feel beautiful and I just really love that.”
Squash Blossom has always catered to women and focuses on finding items women of all ages can wear. Bobb sells everything from underwear to outerwear, shoes to hats and a variety of other items including accessories and jewelry, Bobb said. She is also cultivating a gift section for men.
“I have different styling preferences myself in the way I dress from one day to the next. I think that’s reflected in the things that I buy,” Bobb previously told Decaturish. “What I’m hearing from my customers is that people say there’s more for them to choose from. It appeals to more of a variety of women.”
Anna Blitz, who has been an employee for about a year, was also a long time customer of Squash Blossom before working at the store. She also appreciates how the store has a broad customer base, Blitz said.
“That’s the one thing I really like about the store being the age that I am (56) is that someone 60 will come in and I’ll be helping someone in their 30s at the same and they’re trying on the same clothes basically,” Blitz said.
“My daughter is in high school and she comes in and picks out items. We argue at home going ‘can I borrow it’ and she’s like no,” Blitz added.
Bobb previously told Decaturish that she has seen mothers, daughters and grandmothers shopping together and each finds something they like.
“I think Squash Blossom always has been really successful with having that in mind and being able to meet the needs of the community that shops here,” Blitz said.
Squash Blossom closed briefly in the spring due to the COVID-19 pandemic. During that time, Bobb was able to pivot and grow the online portion of the business, which has now become almost half of the business, she said.
Blitz added that the store has always had an online option but it had fewer items. Bobb pivoted to add more merchandise to the online store so customers can shop online and pick up curbside, do local delivery or have items shipped.
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“I know Lisa worked really hard on being able to maintain a connection with the community and giving them options on how they want to shop now and what they’re comfortable with,” Blitz said.
She started the Squash Box when the store was closed. The box is a collection of gift items from the store that are hand-selected and put together by the staff.
“We put together small gift items like a candle, a bath bomb or bath soap, a fun pair of socks, a simple piece of jewelry like a bracelet and maybe something for the home either a notepad or journal or a decorative item,” Bobb said.
The Squash Box has a couple variations. There is a birthday box that includes balloons, gift wrap and a hand-written greeting card with a personalized message. This box comes with helium-filled balloons attached if purchased with local delivery or pickup.
“It started off when we were closed to the public but now that we’re reopened we have a table dedicated to a build-your-own-box experience so people can come in and hand-select the items and then they get a discount on it,” Bobb said.
The stores are now open with the following COVID-19 protocols, Bobb said:
– Masks are required in the store
– Clothes are steamed after coming out of the fitting rooms
– The credit card terminals are wiped down
– Hand sanitizer is available throughout the store
– The store has limited hours at both locations
Bobb added that they are selling masks which has become the No. 1 selling item.
Squash Blossom has two locations. One location is on the Decatur Square located at 113 East Court Square. The website says the store just reopened with CDC guidelines. The store is open Monday through Wednesday from noon to 5 p.m., Thursday through Saturday from noon to 7 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.
The second location is in Grant Park located at 519 Memorial Drive, Suite B-01. This store is open daily from noon to 5 p.m.
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