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Ramona Lou gathers fashion treasure trove

Owner searches for wearable vintage finds
By: Gloria Young Journal Staff Writer
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An Auburn native is translating her love of fashion into retail. Sommer Naffz, a 1997 Placer High graduate, has opened Ramona Lou in Downtown Auburn. The store is named after her two grandmothers, she said Tuesday. The focus is on vintage clothing, although Naffz carries some new items in the store. “My working background is in high-end fashion, but I would always shop vintage shops,” she said. Naffz majored in American studies with a minor in journalism at University of California, Santa Cruz. For the past seven years she’s lived in San Francisco, a vintage clothing shopper’s paradise. During that time, she worked for a high-end boutique. She also managed a bakery for awhile. The Auburn store has a mix of clothing, accessories, shoes, purses, jewelry and artwork. There’s even a small selection of men’s items. “My specialty is women’s clothing, but I like to have the option,” she said. “… I want to have something for guys to look at, too, if they come in with their wives or girlfriends.” Naffz has been collecting items for the shop all summer. “I shop online and scour eBay, flea markets and sales,” she said. “I look for anything that catches my eye,” she said. I’m doing this to satisfy my own creative urges as well.” She acknowledged that finding unique clothing for the store is going to be one of the biggest challenges. “But it is an ongoing process. That what makes it fun,” she said. “Any city you go to, any nook or small town, you can always find something and that’s what I enjoy about this business.” Her love of fashion dates from childhood. “(It was) not really in the sense where I claimed it and wore it on my sleeve as being a fashion addict, but more as a hobby,” she said. “I’ve always enjoyed digging and collecting — finding treasures.” It was during walks through Downtown that she saw the vacant space near the clocktower and decided that was the perfect spot for her store. “I knew if I were to open a business in Auburn, I’d have to have it in an area where there’s foot traffic,” she said. “That was my No. 1 requirement.” She also likes being near the newly completed phase one of Streetscape. “Building up the promenade area and the new (Streetscape) design has given Auburn a sort of a facelift,” she said. “Other retailers have welcomed me with open arms and think Auburn needs more small retail stores.” A couple of doors down at Foothills Lighting & Design, owner Debbie Johnson said she hopes having another retailer on the street will be beneficial. “It’s very interesting and very unique,” she said about the clothing store. “It’s a little niche store like ours.” Besides her vintage clothing, Naffz also carries a couple of new lines — denim, socks and tights, and plans to add more as the business becomes established. Many of the jewelry pieces are from Sacramento designer Seth Duarte. “He specializes in titanium chains,” she said. “He does everything by hand and very detailed.” The artwork includes acrylic paintings on canvas as well as paper collage work and ceramic pieces by Stephanie Adams. There are also jewelry pieces by Winter Shaw. “I just liked the style of what they do,” Naffz said. “Stephanie’s is a lot of color and bold shapes and I was really drawn to her paintings. Winter has the same sort of addiction to vintage clothing, so that’s how I met her.” Reach Gloria Young at gloriay@goldcountrymedia.com. ----------------- Ramona Lou Where: 923 Lincoln Way, Downtown Auburn Hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday-Friday; 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. Sunday (Open later for artwork and events) Phone: (530) 885-0568 On Facebook: Ramona Lou