CANANDAIGUA, NY — In the back of her mind, Karen Taft thought about owning her own store, or, as she put it, “having my own little thing” in retirement.
At about the same time, the owner of the store she was managing, Chandeliers Boutique in downtown Canandaigua, was thinking of ways to simplify her life.
Taft, who had been hired shortly after a shopping trip while trying to find the dress for her youngest son’s high school graduation, was asked, have you ever considered having your own store?
This had been a dream for Taft, but was the timing right, especially in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic? The more they talked, though, the more it made sense.
In the end, she said, it was a pretty easy decision.
“It felt right,” Taft said. “I dove in and said, ‘Let’s do it.’ I felt like one door closed, and Blue Door opened.”
And, with a few changes to make it Taft’s own, Blue Door Boutique did in fact open over the weekend.
Blue Door Boutique is named so for several reasons; Taft had always wanted a beautiful blue door for her home and blue is a warm, welcoming color.
“I love Canandaigua Lake, I love bright blue sky, and I love the Caribbean Sea,” Taft said.
The boutique offers classic-style clothing that is easy to wear, for all ages and sizes, including plus sizes, which is something new for the location, Taft said.
They range from comfortable, cozy outfits to pieces that can be worn for special occasions. Blue Door Boutique also has lots of accessories in store, including scarves, shoes, purses, and jewelry.
The same employees she managed at Chandeliers are staying on, and all emphasize that Blue Door is all about the customer experience for shoppers.
“We want to really give them the shopping experience, not only one-stop shopping where they can come and get the whole outfit, but where they’re going to leave feeling very confident and comfortable in what they’ve chosen,” Taft said.
A women’s clothing store has been among the anchors in downtown since the days of the Country Ewe.
Denise Chaapel, manager of the downtown Canandaigua Business Improvement District, said both women’s and men’s clothing stores are a key to the business district’s success.
And it helps that Taft is local – she was born and raised in Canandaigua – and knows what people are looking for, which is exciting, Chaapel said.
“At the end of the day, knowing your locals and what your locals want when they’re out buying, is the key for the successful clothing businesses,” Chaapel said. “For Karen to be so invested in the community, this is just going to be incredible for us.”
Owning her own store also allows Taft to get back to her roots. She grew up with two sisters, but she and her husband had three boys. Her life had changed from board games to “all rough-and-tumble” and sports, she said.
“Now, I can get back into my girly-girl side,” Taft said. “I refer to Blue Door as my daughter.”
And she is thrilled to be part of all that’s happening in downtown Canandaigua.
“I already know so many people, and so many of the other merchants,” Taft said. “I’m just looking forward to getting to know them better and to working with them to continue to make downtown Canandaigua a great place to be.”
Blue Door Boutique hours
Blue Door Boutique, 79 S. Main St., Canandaigua, is open 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays; 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursdays; 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; and noon to 4 p.m. Sundays. Call 585-455-5989 or visit https://www.bluedoorbtq.com/.