Discerning American fashion consumers are always looking for freshness and uniqueness in the pieces they add to their wardrobes. George Bambalis, owner of Nitsa’s Apparel along with his wife Chris, says he hears that request all the time from their customers.
“They’re tired of walking into stores and seeing rack after rack of seemingly the same styles,” he explains.
That’s where Nitsa’s stands out as one of North Carolina’s leading women’s specialty stores. Nitsa’s strives to bring an eclectic mix of fashion to both of its locations – here in Winston-Salem and in Charlotte. The buzzword for this approach to fashion is “curate,” and Nitsa’s definitely follows a curated approach. The most obvious characteristic that distinguishes Nitsa’s from many other specialty stores is that they have a broad range of product offerings, especially at their 10,000-square-foot Stratford Road boutique.
Focused primarily on the woman in her 30s, 40s, 50s and beyond, their women’s sportswear collection brings together a mix of contemporary, crossover, and modern designers, but you’ll also find clothing in the “athleisure” classification which is the style evolution of active wear (athletic workout clothing), that fits into daily life while you’re out and about. The Winston-Salem store’s Paradise Room focuses on lifestyle clothing with fun, colorful sportswear and dresses for resort and vacation trips, or for just looking fabulous at a casual lunch. In the fall and winter months, you’ll find outdoor attire in the Paradise Room such as vests, jackets, and coats.
Besides their award-winning bridal salons (more on those later!), Nitsa’s offers other fashions ranging from party wear and social occasion dresses for the young prom girl, to women’s cocktail and evening dresses, and the most flattering dresses for the mother-of-the-bride! Also, Nitsa’s offers suits and dresses for the professional woman, a classification which has been as difficult to buy for as it has been for customers to find in the marketplace.
Without a doubt, the breadth of fashion choices offered at Nitsa’s is amazing.
“We’ve been working with one of 7th Avenue’s foremost buying offices for years,” says George. For the past three years, both George and Chris have been devoting their full energy once again to their two stores, after having dealt with a family medical situation for several years before that. Their efforts in working closely with The Doneger Group, the New York buying office of record in the industry, to develop one of the best collections of women’s fashion in the Southeast has been paying dividends for their loyal following.
“We renovated the Winston-Salem store with fun, rustic colors, natural wood accents, and other natural materials to reflect our fashion sensibility and to showcase all the beautiful clothes we are buying,” says George.
Of course, Nitsa’s also offers a tremendous assortment of accessories to coordinate with every ensemble, something every serious shopper knows is essential to completing a look. They are also pleased to offer a full range of cosmetic and skin care products and services, and Wanda, Nitsa’s Sales Manager, applies her expertise as a registered esthetician to help customers achieve a beautiful, individualized look.
Their mission is implied by their slogan, “EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED.” But offering sumptuous fabrics and beautiful clothing isn’t their only mission.
“Winston-Salem is a great city, and our family has been part of the fabric of this business community since the 1930s,” says George, who also owns Recreation Billiards, established in 1947 in downtown Winston-Salem. “You don’t have a successful business like Nitsa’s for over 50 years without the support of your neighbors, friends, and the community at large. As a result, we’ve been strong supporters of our city’s various institutions.”
For example, Nitsa’s just hosted their 18th Annual “Food for Families” event before Thanksgiving, where they raised food and funds for The Second Harvest Foodbank of Northwest NC. Nitsa’s also sponsors another in-store event in conjunction with their Holiday Open House for our local Battered Women’s Shelter that supports women and children who find themselves in crisis. This year’s event will be held Friday and Saturday, December 2 and December 3, and customers who bring in their gently used clothing or make a cash donation to the shelter will receive a 30% discount off their Nitsa’s purchase. George and Chris also support organizations such as the Humane Society, the American Heart Association’s Heart Ball, and Winterlark, the cancer patient support program at WFUBMC.
“It’s important to our family to give back and help others as God has helped us and blessed us over the years,” shares George.
While he handles overall business affairs at Nitsa’s, Chris works in the Winston-Salem store and oversees the management of Nitsa’s bridal salons at both the Winston-Salem and Charlotte locations. In the bridal industry, Nitsa’s is known as The Carolinas’ Couture Bridal Salon, because of their exceptional collection of bridal designers, the impeccable craftsmanship of their seamstresses, and the extensive knowledge of their bridal consultants.
“It’s such a special time in a woman’s life and such an honor and treat for us to be there to help her,” says Chris. She smiles as she talks about one of her favorite wedding party photos where Nitsa’s dressed the entire entourage in the photo, from the flower girl to the bridesmaids, the mother and grandmother of the bride, even the bride’s cousins and, of course, the beautiful bride herself.
Chris shares another story about one of her brides who walked by the alterations room and said, beaming, “So this is where the magic happens.” Chris emphasizes to brides from the first moment of their initial appointment how important a properly fitted and altered gown is to a perfect wedding day look. This season she’s especially excited about the new Hayley Paige Collection and the designer’s other line, Blush by Hayley Paige. Hayley Paige is the twenty-something couture designer phenom who is taking the bridal world by storm with her fresh and fanciful, yet surprisingly affordable, bridal gowns and her extremely popular bridesmaid’s line. As it has for years, Nitsa’s continues to offer iconic couture bridal designers such as Amsale, Monique Lhuillier, and Romona Keveza with price points ranging from $1,500 to $8,000.
While keeping a watchful eye on an ever-changing fashion world, Nitsa’s continues to work hard at preserving the tradition of offering the highest quality alterations service to its customers, a vanishing amenity in the marketplace. Nitsa’s is only one of a small number of stores who offer highly skilled, experienced seamstresses in-house.
“We try to stay true to a well-known quote from my mom, Nitsa Bambalis,” says George. “Fashion is one part style and three parts fit.”
Something to look forward to this spring: George added that one of Nitsa’s new and exclusive designers for Spring 2017, TED BAKER London, just rolled out their latest tongue-in-cheek marketing campaign, “Mission Impeccable.” How perfect for Nitsa’s clientele as impeccable does seem to be the perfect description for women who want to look their very best!
For those of you who haven’t done so already, rediscover Nitsa’s or fall in love with them for the first time – either way you’re going to have an amazing experience. Nitsa’s Apparel is located at Stratford Village, 107 S. Stratford Road in Winston-Salem, 336-725-1999. Hours are Monday through Friday 9:30 a.m. – 6:00 p.m. and Saturday 9:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Visit them online at nitsas.com and follow them on Facebook and Instagram for news, events, and trend updates. When you participate in their Holiday Open House, December 2 and December 3, your donation earns you a percentage off your store purchase. You can also visit Nitsa’s Charlotte location known for their bridal salon and exceptional party clothes, special occasion wear, and alterations at 6700 Fairview Road in Phillips Place, 704-940-1999.