A second chance for Roxanne's

Local boutique finds new owner, new location and new business twist, but same woman is behind it all.

April 05, 2012|By Alisha Gomez, Special to the Coastline Pilot
  • Tammy Kern of Roxanne's Boutique, stands in front of the latest summer Maxi dresses in the new location in south Laguna.
Tammy Kern of Roxanne's Boutique, stands in front… (DON LEACH, Coastline…)

Browsing through the racks of clothes and accessories on shelves at Roxanne's Designer Boutique, it seems like a typical shop one might find in Laguna Beach.

But for Roxanne Peterson, the woman behind the name, the new store marks a fresh start. It's a new beginning away from the uncertainty of the past several months in which she watched the first shop she opened nine years ago slowly crumble.

"I never took it personal," Peterson said about sales slowing at her original shop in Dana Point. "I always knew I did a great job and that it was the economy. It was very stressful, but you keep going like anything else."

Roxanne's reopened at its new location, 31678 S. Coast Hwy., about a month ago. The new shop has bit of a twist. One part sells new clothing such as Cookie Johnson jeans and Chan Luu designs; another part sells accessories and artwork from local artists in the Southern California regions; and the third part a consignment section with gently used clothing.


The first Roxanne's was opened by Peterson in January 2003. Business had been humming along nicely. The shop was in a good location, Peterson was building up a loyal clientele, and she watched with pride as her business flourished.

Then the economic recession hit in late 2008 and 2009. Financial institutions collapsed, banks needed a bailout, the housing market continued to slump and consumer spending froze.

It was something Peterson at first noticed "little by little." And then she saw it get worse.

"People were not purchasing like they used to, and that hurt small businesses the most," she said.

"The economy hit small businesses harder than big business," said Tammy Kern, the woman who bought the business from Peterson and brought her on as a partner.

Kern, whose business experience ranges from merchandise consulting for country club golf shops across the country to running Cal-a-Vie Health Spa's retail department, discovered the sale of Roxanne's through an online ad.

It was like a bright, flashing, meant-to-be sign. The price, $75,000, was extremely reasonable and the timing was uncanny.

Kern's brother, Danny Kinder, 61, had just passed away from leukemia. The two had a loose pact about starting their own businesses, being passionate about what they do and not sitting behind a desk working for someone else the rest of their lives, Kern said.

"I didn't want to be 60 years old, saying 'shoulda woulda coulda,'" she said.

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