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Savvy shopper opens Blue Moon Apparel

By: Gloria Young Journal Staff Writer
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Diane Stanbury was a buyer in the retail clothing business for more than 30 years. Now she is putting that expertise to use as the owner of Blue Moon Apparel. She opened her first store in Grass Valley four years ago and on June10 opened a branch on Highway 49 in North Auburn. She describes the business as a boutique that functions as an outlet store. “We carry a lot of brand names,” she said this week. “I buy discounted goods from manufacturers and companies in Los Angeles and on the East Coast.” She chose Auburn as the site for a new store partly because of the weather, after having to deal with the unusually large amount of snow this winter. “And, Auburn is a great area,” Stanbury said. The shop carries an eclectic selection. “I (choose items) from all kinds of places because I’ve been in retail for so long and I have lots of contacts, mainly in the Los Angeles area. I have people who call to say they have extras. I also attend trade shows.” Along with dresses, skirts, blouses, T-shirts, capris and even swim suits, the store has accessories — belts, purses, shoes and jewelry. Sizes range from 0 to 3X. “‘Missy’ is our main target,” she said. “We’re focusing more on lady sizing.” The theme right now is summer items. “I plan for the season but because I buy discounted product, I’m not working ahead,” Stanbury said. “I carry more product people are looking for at the moment. I’ll continue to have summer things as long as it is hot.” She credits her years of experience with helping her choose inventory and negotiate the price. “I think it is important that people learn and know and buy for their customer base,” she said. “I’m aware that everyone is looking for themselves. So I try to carry a wide variety of items for moms and (some things for their) daughters. There are lots of styles and taste, so I’m buying for a broad spectrum of customers. We carry a lot of sizes and a lot of styles.” And if something doesn’t sell, “mark it down and get rid of it,” she said. While she spends most of her time at the Grass Valley location, her mother works in the Auburn store. “I really enjoy chatting with the customers,” Stanbury said. “I worked at a desk for so long. It’s nice to be back visiting with people during the day. It’s one reason my mother is good at her job. She enjoys chatting with people. We enjoy getting to know people.” The Auburn staff includes three local hires, who Stanbury describes as “doing a great job.” “We try to carry the name brand items at good value and give good customer service,” she said. “We’re looking to produce another shopping (experience) besides what is there currently.” Stanbury got her start as a buyer in the ski industry. “I started dating a young man who worked for a ski shop — that was 35 years ago,” she said. “I became a buyer for that store and traveled internationally.” Customer Victoria Arista, a Foresthill resident, visited the store for the first time Wednesday. “I’m impressed because they have some really nice things for the normal figure, people who are not stick figures,” she said. “They have some really cute stuff.” Auburn resident Sahmed Aceves agreed. “I work (nearby),” she said. “I like that it has really nice clothes. They’re different from other stores, but I like it.” Reach Gloria Young at gloriay@goldcountrymedia.com. ---------------------- Blue Moon Apparel Where: 2240 Grass Valley Highway, Bel Air Center, North Auburn Hours: 9:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily Phone: (530) 885-8835 Website: bluemoonapparel.com