City Woman Leaves Corporate America to Manage Downtown Boutique

New Bedford Economic Development Council
When Celia Britto opened her boutique in the former Cherry and Webb building in 2003, she had scouted locations at the mall, surrounding towns and elsewhere in the city. But it was the downtown area that she found was the most attractive, the most interesting.
“I saw the effort to revitalize downtown produce real possibilities”, said Celia. “With more and more businesses sprouting along these streets, a vibrant business community is taking hold.”
Ms. Britto most recently left corporate America to manage her boutique full time. For 13 years she was the purchasing agent for Polaroid in Waltham, commuting 3 hours a day from her home in New Bedford. MCT purchased Polaroid, she was MCT plant in the Business Park, the distance to her job was less but still the distance from her retail business was a growing concern. She explained, “We think we are superwomen – devoting time to family, and straddling a corporate career with trying to run a business at the same time. It is very difficult. After my family, the boutique is my passion. Finally I made the break.”
Celia is now fully invested in spending time with her existing and new customers – face to face. After attending trade shows in Las Vegas and New York City to see “what’s hot and what’s not” Celia determines which vendors provide the quality her customers expect and which items they will enjoy. “I offer fashionable styles in all sizes from size 2 to 22, from evening wear to European styles that enhance the feminine in all women. Shops in Providence and Boston offer similar urban styles, but busy working women should not have to travel so far. I would say we have merchandise that, with a small change of accessories, a woman could easily move from work to play attire,” said Celia.
Celia’s is among a growing number of shops that target the 34-54 female clientele who prefer personalized customer service not usually found in department stores. The Blush beauty bar provides a full line of beauty products and make-up services, Be Jeweled carries high-end, beautifully hand crafted jewelry. Offerings range from the hair and skin boutique Studio 508, hair design and unique color at Salon Lola and state-of-the-art skin care at Skin Medspa.
“New Bedford is my home and I have so many fond childhood memories of this area. I just knew returning full time to my retail business was the right thing to do to keep the business going.” Celia is planning a five year anniversary celebration in May.

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