When Donna Merriman opened Fraleigh’s Boutique with her mother, Mary Frances Bingham, in 1981, she knew their strong family bond would spill over into the business. But who could have guessed they would be celebrating a 40th anniversary this year, blessed with an ever-growing client base and an amazingly bright future ahead!
This year has been one to remember for the Fraleigh’s family, explains Donna’s daughter-in-law, Ally, who now helps manage the boutique’s day-to-day operations.
“For our 40th anniversary we wanted to go BIG,” says Ally. “You only turn 40 once! We had a three-day Anniversary Sale and a fun wheel for customers to spin at checkout and receive extra discounts and goodies – all as a thank-you for supporting us!” One especially favorite element of the anniversary hoopla – old photos of Mary and Donna from 1986 that were used in original newspaper ads – were made into canvases and placed around the boutique for customers to enjoy and reminisce.
“It brought back sweet memories for some of our customers who have been shopping with us since we opened,” says Ally. “For others, it was a glimpse of Fraleigh’s past.”
A large part of that past has been made up of mothers and daughters shopping together, as classic style always transcends generations. The boutique also has many “regulars” — groups of girlfriends and co-workers who also make it a point to shop together. From size two to 20W, the goal is simply to make customers feel comfortable.
“When we have a customer who shares their love for our store with family and friends and brings them along for the experience, that’s truly the highest compliment you can receive!” says Ally.
At Fraleigh’s, showing love to their loyal clients means a focus on customer service, and a dedication to carrying quality clothing. For those that choose the boutique experience over online shopping, the staff offers 100% effort to giving them the one-on-one service they deserve (think personal shopper!), as well as recognizing when customers would prefer to browse on their own.
Staying in style these days also means keeping pace with social media, and Fraleigh’s posts daily videos on Facebook and Instagram, along with emails to keep customers up-to-date on new inventory, daily specials, and other upcoming events at the shop. “Our daily videos have truly helped our business flourish, especially during the past year,” says Ally. “We see so many trends in the marketplace and make adjustments when we’re buying in order to stay age-appropriate for our clientele.”
Throughout these amazing 40 years, the Fraleigh’s staff has seen every look and every style come and go, from skinny pants to wide legs, long jackets, short jackets, and tops in every color, always with the perfect accessories to match. Those fun accessories, from shoes and scarves to bags and jewelry, also make excellent Christmas gifts!
The achievement and excitement of 2021 will not soon be forgotten at Fraleigh’s, and these ladies are excited to continue growing and bringing their customers the very best quality. The rewards of running a successful business have been many, on both professional and personal levels.
“Our customers are our family,” explains Ally, proudly. “We celebrate with them, grow with them, and even cry together. If we have just met them that day, some time in the last few months, or maybe we have known them for 30-plus years — either way, they are family! When you have the opportunity to spend time with your customers and get to know them on a personal level, that’s what makes it all worthwhile.”
If you’re new to the Fraleigh’s family here’s a bit of trivia: The clever shop name combines both Mary and Donna’s middle names – Frances and Leigh! Come visit Fraleigh’s Boutique at 2626 Lewisville-Clemmons Road in Clemmons, 336-766-7440, and follow them on Instagram @fraleighsboutique and at Fraleighsboutiquenc.com. Boutique hours are Monday through Friday 10 a.m. – 5 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.