Kelly Golden, owner of Neapolitan Collection in Winnetka, Ill., is an influential multidesigner retailer in the Midwest. Neither flashy nor showy, she’s been content to fly somewhat under the fashion radar. Until now.
Golden in October will nearly double Neapolitan’s size to 8,000 square feet when she moves the store to a new location at 560 Chestnut Street, around the corner from the original unit on Elm Street.
Neapolitan sells Gucci, Valentino, Saint Laurent, Lanvin, Marni, the Row, Altuzarra and Roksanda, among other designers. There’s a Dior shop-in-shop and Golden is considering having more.
“We’re partnering with some brands,” she said. “Where we carry shoes and handbags as well as ready-to-wear, we’ll display it together.”
The store’s expanded size will allow Neapolitan to offer swimwear and more denim. “It’s allowing us to add more categories and lines so we’ll be able to dress our ladies from morning to night,” Golden said. “We’re one of the few specialty stores carrying The Row shoes.”
There will be a salon for fine jewelry, a category that’s been growing for years, with Sidney Garber, Fernando George, Irene Neuwirth, Monique Peán, Federica Rettore and four or five other brands, priced from $600 to $100,000.
Golden will offer contemporary labels and she’s talking to Urban Zen talking about creating an area that communicates calm and well-being.
Neapolitan now does about $1,000 a square foot in sales, and Golden expects the new store to do at least as much, if not more.
With its 30-foot ceilings, the new store is giving Golden a big blank canvas to play with. “There are no structural walls or columns. It’s a bit overwhelming to design the space,” she said. “We’re bringing back the beautiful trusses and natural skylights that the previous owners covered up. Architecturally, the space is very interesting. The product will show better. We still want to keep a bit more of an intimate feeling.”
When Neapolitan originally opened 13 years ago, the store had 1,400 square feet of space. Over the years, she added square footage as adjacent shops became available, eventually growing to 4,400 square feet. “It was putting it together piecemeal,” she said. “For the past couple of years, I’ve been looking for another space.”
Neapolitan holds numerous trunk shows. There are five scheduled for April alone, including Marni furs and Adam Lippes. “My clients love the personal interaction with designers,” Golden said. “It’s very old-school in that way. That’s why we’ve been able to keep expanding and growing.”
Golden was working at Motorola when she decided she needed a change and enrolled in the MBA program at the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern University. “I was in an entrepreneurial class. I wanted to start my own business. The question I asked myself was, ‘what would get me out of bed every morning and not feel like work?’”
She answered her own question with fashion. “I always loved the experience of shopping and traveled a lot for previous jobs. I thought there was an opportunity in Chicago on the North Shore. I approached it as a business opportunity,” she said.