The Purple Goose Children’s Boutique in Alexandria’s Del Ray neighborhood is simply one of a kind.
Tutu’s hang in mass profusion, hair accessories, shoes, and girly girl socks jam the front counter, and trying to see all the merchandise - well, its hopeless! And these are all good things!
Originally conceived as a consignment shop, the Purple Goose was purchased in 1992 by Paula Hoelzel and moved to its current location at 2005 Mt. Vernon Avenue.
The shop continued with consignments only for 8 years and then customers started asking for new merchandise. Today, according to Paula’s daughter, Linda Thompson, 70% of the merchandise is new. Paula buys what she likes and what she likes is sophisticated, colorful and often European.
(A word about the consignment merchandise - it is immaculate, sometimes actually brand new, high-end, and an incredible bargain.)
The Purple Goose is decidedly “girly”. While there are hats, coats, shoes, scarves, etc. for little boys, the boutique would make Elle Woods deliriously happy.
Two great stories illustrate just what a niche the Purple Goose has created for itself. First - several years ago when Paula and Linda decided to remodel they hired a decorator who urged them towards a sleek, streamlined ’show room’ approach. Minimalist if you will. It lasted approximately a month. Customers, accustomed to an explosion of color and product, hated it. Paula and Linda returned the store to its former look.
Second, one of the store’s biggest selling items is a tutu. Made of 50 yards of net and tulle, the tutu’s are not inexpensive. The solid color tutu’s are $50, the multi-color are $55.
Worried that the recession would deter buyers, Paula and Linda considered not carrying the tutu’s for awhile until a customer said “no, everyone still needs bread, milk and tutu’s”.
Linda went on to tell me that on one Saturday alone they sold 20 tutu’s - five going to one person.
Although well supported by the neighborhood, the Purple Goose is very much of a destination store with regular customers coming from Old Town and Maryland as from spots like Orange and Warrenton, VA.
If you hurry, you can still make the store’s twice yearly 50% off sale, the only time merchandise is discounted. And if you don’t make it this month, head back in January for the Winter Sale. The shop is open Monday-Friday, 11:00am - 6:00pm and Saturday, 10:30am- 6:00pm.
But no matter when you go, just go, the Purple Goose is irresistible.
Thanks for stopping by,