The economy might still be uncertain, but a local couple are confident enough in Greer’s potential that they are about to open a new retail store downtown. “We’ve been planning this for a while and we think the timing is right,” says Anna Challenger, a local entrepreneur who, with her husband and business partner Keith is planning to open an upscale consignment clothing store in a vacant property on Poinsett Street. “We’ve been very impressed with what’s happening in downtown, from the new park and City complex to Greer Station and the Greer Development Corporation, we just feel Greer has so much to offer and we want to be part of it.”
Challenger is the General Manager of a local hotel. Her husband is Vice President of Marketing for a healthcare company in Asheville. They plan to hire local people to manage and run the store which will be called ZUZU’s Fashion Replay, and will occupy the space at 115 East Poinsett Street.
The property is a familiar sight to Greer residents because until recently, it still has the Barber Shop sign in the window from when George Clooney used it in the filming of the 2008 movie Leatherheads. That sign will be replaced, but in homage to the movie and its importance to the history of downtown Greer, the Challengers will leave the Duluth, Minn part of the sign and plan to have a small “Leatherheads” display inside the store.
The ZUZU’s name also has ties to the movie industry. It was the name of the youngest child of George and Mary Bailey (James Stewart and Donna Reed) in the classic Christmas movie, “It’s a Wonderful Life”.
“We thought of naming our store Zuzu’s Petals after a part of the storyline in the movie, but that sounded too much like a florist store,” said Challenger.
They plan to open ZUZU’s Fashion Replay early in April and are already promoting it online at www.zuzutoo.com.
“We started developing a website very early in the process and have added a blog, so anyone who is interested can read all about what’s involved in starting a business in Greer” says Keith Challenger, an English-born marketing professional who is handling promotion for the new venture. “We have no intention of simply hanging a shingle, opening the doors and waiting for customers to find us. We want to partner with other local businesses, the City, the Chamber of Commerce, Greer Development Corporation, Greer Station and anyone else who has a genuine desire to see downtown thrive. We want to be part of promoting Greer as a destination. There isn’t a single business in this community that we see as a competitor. As far as we’re concerned, there will be plenty of business to go around once people realize what downtown Greer has to offer.”
When asked why they chose the property on Poinsett Street, the couple quickly point out the things that appealed to them. “We plan to give the store an urban feel, with lots of chrome with black and red accents. The quality of the shopping experience is very important because it’ll reflect the quality of the merchandise and the ZUZU’s brand. This will be a friendly, inviting space where you can shop for really nice upscale clothing, but if you look carefully, you’ll find unbelievable bargains,” says Challenger, who also points out that they will pay the consignor (clothing owner) 50% of the selling price which is higher than most stores. “We’ll also accept consignment clothing at any time. There’s no need to make an appointment.”
Planning and opening a consignment clothing store has presented the couple with some logistical challenges, including storage and tracking of more than 1,000 items of clothing that have already been consigned to the store. They have a computerized inventory system, and rented storage buildings to warehouse the clothing until the store is ready to open in early April.
With special events and promotions planned at their store throughout the year, we can expect to see and hear more from this dynamic couple as their new venture adds a vital spark to the development of downtown Greer.