A women’s clothing retailer is expanding beyond the Blue Ridge Mountains into the River City.
BitterSweet Boutique plans to open a Carytown store at 3011 W. Cary St. in October. Owner Paula Pekic is betting Richmond will be fertile ground for her company’s focus on trendy, bohemian fashion pieces aimed at college-aged and young professional women.
BitterSweet, which opened its first store in Charlottesville in 2001, also has locations in Lynchburg and Roanoke.
“We were looking for a fourth location,” Pekic said. “I really felt with our style of clothing, Richmond made sense,” noting she had also considered a D.C. store.
The company aims to set itself apart from competitors with its recently launched in-house clothing line, as well as its selection of brands. The company sells tops, bottoms, jeans, outerwear and dresses, and most items are under $100. It also sells shoes, accessories and swimwear.
In addition to its own clothing line, called Rozely, Bittersweet carries items by brands such as Brixton, Saltwater Luxe and Gentlefawn.
“We looked at other stores, and we wanted to make sure we offer something different,” Pekic said. “It’s California-based with a New York accent.”
BitterSweet signed a lease for the 2,000-square-foot space previously occupied by Brick & Mortar, a clothing store and coffee shop that was an early casualty of the coronavirus pandemic.
Pekic plans to hire five or six employees. She said that number could increase in the future.
Pekic, who recently relocated to Richmond from Roanoke to help shepherd along the Carytown store, expects to bring her company’s internship program to Richmond.
BitterSweet’s pending arrival comes amid other recent moves in Carytown’s retail scene. Blue Butterfly Boutique opened at the former home of Kambourian Jewelers in June. Need Supply Co. shuttered its Carytown store as the company ends operations.