A San Diego Charger and his fianc & #233;e are inviting people to join them in the closet , Elizabeth’s Closet that is.
The newest retail shop on Prospect Street in La Jolla is a high-end boutique carrying both men’s and women’s fashions. At only about 700 square feet, the shop interior is designed to have an intimate feel of a walk-in closet.
Chargers’ tight end Antonio Gates, No. 85, and fianc & #233; Elizabeth Patterson, a former model and businesswoman, are co-owners in the endeavor. The couple held grand-opening festivities Nov. 4.
The 33-year-old Patterson, who runs the shop’s day-to-day operation, has been involved in the fashion industry for the past decade, first as a model, then later with Bloomingdale’s corporate operations in New York and Beverly Hills.
“As I was modeling in Europe through the years and saw all the fashion activity around me, I always wanted to own my own boutique,” Patterson said.
Patterson, a graduate of the prestigious Fashion Institute of Technology in New York, said she solidified her passion for fashion while interning for renowned designer Nicole Miller.
As an intern, Patterson learned the ins and outs of the retail fashion business, dealing with customer service, tracking and ordering of merchandise, and other less glamorous aspects of the fashion industry. Although the internship program was rigorous, Patterson said she loved every minute of it.
About 60 percent of what Elizabeth’s Closet carries is for women, leaving about 40 percent of the merchandise for men , big men such as the 6-foot, 4-inch, 260-pound Gates.
“Antonio always looks in my bags and says, ‘What did you get for me?’ but it’s such a challenge to find things for him and guys like him,” Patterson said.
The remedy: Gates, along with input from his Chargers teammates, is in the process of designing a line of “sophisticated, fashion-forward” shirts for men with large athletic bodies.
Patterson estimates her average customer to be a woman, age 20 and older, looking to buy for herself and her significant other. Although the majority of the merchandise is for adult men and women, a small amount of youth items are also available.
“I would say Elizabeth’s Closet has a little bit of everything for everyone in your family,” Patterson said.
Because her shop is only 700 square feet, Patterson plans to attract much of her business via regular events to include designer trunk shows and in-store wine tastings. She’s also planning to be a regular charitable contributor.
This holiday season, Patterson said she is looking to find a few women in need to come in to the shop to receive a little pampering and a few outfits of their choosing. She’s also looking forward to helping the San Diego Chargers with their charitable programs.
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At least two national retailers also celebrated new store openings this month, one in the fast-food arena and another in the 35-plus women’s apparel market.
On Nov. 2, Atlanta-based Chick-fil-A was set to open on Sports Arena Boulevard, next to the ipayOne Center. The opening marks the fast-food chain’s third location in San Diego County. The chain, which is in 37 states and had sales of nearly $2 billion last year, opened in Chula Vista in 2004 and in Oceanside shortly thereafter. Chick-fil-A plans to open a fourth local location in San Marcos this December.
Also on Nov. 2, Massachusetts-based Talbots Inc. was set to open a 2,190-square-foot J. Jill store in downtown’s Horton Plaza. J. Jill, which carries both weekend and casual business clothing for women, is one of the two Talbot brands. The other is Talbots, which primarily carries women’s apparel but also dabbles in some children’s clothing and men’s sportswear.
Last year, J. Jill, which has 200 stores in 35 states, reported revenues of $450 million. Talbots, which operates 1,000-plus stores worldwide, reported revenues of $1.8 billion.
Send retail news to Jessica Long at email@example.com. She may also be reached at (858) 277-6359, ext. 3114.