Forty years ago, Lori and Joseph Friedman were casting around for a business to start.
He worked with Caldor. She was a wholesaler in children’s wear, and the mother of 6-year-old twins.
They decided on a women’s specialty boutique. They wanted a mix of contemporary fashion to accommodates different generations — the latest looks and trends in clothing and accessories, from well-known designers to cutting-edge.
They’d call it Great Stuff — because “great stuff comes in many forms, and can be purchased at different price points.”
The Friedmans found space on Post Road West, behind what was then John’s Best Pizza. (It’s now The Naan, an Indian restaurant.)
“I had no credit. We did cash and carry with jobbers, not wholesalers,” Lori recalls.
In 1980, the hot items were Gloria Vanderbilt jeans and Jack Mulqueen blouses. Lori put tickets on them at home, then brought them to the store.
“It was a work in progress,” says Lori. “I’d shop for things that were interesting, but not over-exposed. I knew who my customers were, and could picture each garment on them.”
These days, Lori makes 2 or 3 shopping trips a year to Paris. Her husband handles the financial side. The twins — now in their 40s — are in the business too. Dina takes care of buying and merchandising; Adam handles operations.
There are now 5 Great Stuffs (the others are in Greenwich, Rye, Scarsdale and Chappaqua). The Westport location has moved 3 times — to Sconset Square, Main Street, and its current location on the same street, #68 (next to Blue Mercury).
The customer base has evolved. Longtime residents move; new families arrive. Lori and her staff watch them grow up.
For 4 decades, the Great Stuff formula has worked. Congratulations — and on to 2060!