With the recent revelation of UCF's newest business partner, keeping up with the latest fashion trends and staying in style on campus might get a little easier by the end of this month.
In Style Boutique will soon open for business in the John T. Washington Center, also known as the Breezeway, across from Chick-fil-A. The boutique will be the first tenant to take over the space left by the video-game store GameStop.
Scott Eberle, assistant director of UCF's Business Services, said that it took a while to go through the planning stages and ready the space for a new business, because the university didn't want to put just anything in there as a placeholder.
Renovations in the space are close to complete, said Corinne Lamolinara, manager of In Style. The boutique was originally supposed to open in August, but construction setbacks slowed the process. The boutique currently aims to open for business by the end of September, if all goes as planned, she said.
The boutique is a branch of the local In Style Hair Salon & Day Spa chain, which currently has five locations — soon to be six — in the Central Florida area: Baldwin Park, Waterford Lakes, Avalon Park, Timber Springs, University Boulevard and, soon, UCF.
Two of the locations, Baldwin and Avalon Park, also house small boutiques, selling women's clothing, jewelry and handbags. The UCF location will be unique from these in that it will just be a boutique and will not offer the salon services characteristic of In Style's other locations.
"The UCF location will be a sole boutique," Lamolinara said. "It will be our main store; it'll be bigger and it will offer more merchandise and inventory."
Kristen Burket, a senior business management major, has come to associate the name In Style with just the hair-salon aspect of the chain and hopes that people don't get thrown off by it.
"I think it would be nice to have a boutique on campus, but [I also] think that the name would throw people off," Burket said. "A lot of girls know the name more for the salon part and not the boutique, so it could go either way."
A-1 Hair Studio, the salon currently located in the Breezeway, and In Style will have no need to compete, Eberle said, as A-1 offers beauty services and In Style is a retailer.
However, In Style is considering the possibility of offering some à la carte services.
"We are thinking about bringing in an eyebrow threader, since eyebrow threading has become a popular service," Lamolinara said, "but those plans are not set yet."
She added that since In Style caters mainly to young women in their 20s, expanding the business to a college campus seemed to be a perfect fit for that demographic, and UCF agreed.
After speaking to many different focus groups, doing surveys and talking to students regarding what they would like to see on campus, Eberle said that one of the common trends among the responses gathered was an interest in women's clothing and accessories.
"We had students mentioning women's clothing stores like Forever 21, Francesca's and Stalhi, among others," Eberle said. "In Style really stood out [to us]. We were getting restaurants interested in the space, but we were more interested in non-food vendors."
Burket, who lives off campus, said she is more likely to shop somewhere off campus due to the issue of parking at UCF, but thinks it's a good fit for the area.
"It will be a good opportunity for those living on campus with no transportation available to have an option to shop at a boutique in walking distance," Burket said.
In Style will hire UCF students, but employees must be able to work in both the salon and the boutique settings. Qualified candidates can drop off their résumés at any In Style location and mention a preference for working at the new UCF location.