Julie Kent used to shop regularly at Here on the Corner, the women's boutique at College and University in Tempe. When the store's owners told Kent they were looking to sell it, she jumped at the opportunity to start a new chapter in her life.
"I've never been in retail before," says Kent, an ASU alum with a background in supply chain management.
Kent worked as a volunteer for local charities while staying home with her kids for the past eight years, and prior to that she worked at medical supply company, Allegro.
The transition from warehouse manager to mom to fashionista has taken place over the course of nearly a decade, but Kent is happy with her gig, which includes running the shop and bringing in new merchandise. "I can still take my kids to school, and then bike to work," she says. "I love living in the ASU community."
She took over the shop (formerly housed in the basement of ASU's Memorial Union) in May of 2011, but she says she's not looking to drastically change the store, or alienate her clientele of ASU students, faculty, and city employees.
"I don't want to fix what's not broken," Kent says. "But I do want to bring in clothing that can transition from a day at an internship to fun stuff that you can still wear out at night."
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So far the biggest change she's made -- besides a new paint job and moving things around -- is bringing in a line of denim for customers. Kent is also bringing in more products with a purpose, like TOMS shoes -- where proceeds go to support charities. "I love to be in business and give back," she says, adding that it happily marries her passion for volunteering with the new business venture.
She says her goal is to foster a fashion community in Tempe by bringing in more locally-made pieces and getting local designers and artists mingling with the shop's patrons in a series of upcoming meet-and-greet designer nights.
While no events have been finalized yet, Kent says that Here on the Corner will soon have an exciting lineup of things to do.