Dana Point business owner, Stella Lynch, is hoping her fairytale will end on a magical note today after a cash mob is held in her store, Fairytales Children's Boutique, beginning at 11 a.m., Saturday Aug., 18.
Cash mobs are popular because customers take $20 and spend it at the store. The planner of the event, Courtney Faith Vera says, if interested in attending, meet at Starbucks at 42 Monarch Bay Plaza, 32880 Pacific Coast Hwy, a few doors down from the boutique at 10:40 a.m.
"I picked Fairytales Boutique for a cash mob because they are a local boutique in the area that could use a boost with the current economy," she said. "It's my favorite children's store and I live in Lake Elsinore."
Lynch, the wife of a retired US Marine, confirms the economic downturn has been a thorn in her side, so she is grateful her shop was nominated to participate.
"We are extremely blessed to be part of this cash mob event. It could be a much needed boost to bring new inventory in for the coming holidays," Lynch said. "The last 3 years have been more than tough on Fairytales Children's Boutique, and so many small stores like us. I feel for all the small businesses out there right now, and I know that many of our customers have gone through very tough times as well. The majority of local, unique children's stores have gone out of business. I guess I'm too stubborn to give up."
Lynch said she will never forget when a local grandma came into the store for some last minute goodies for her granddaughters.
"On her way out she stopped in the doorway and said: 'thanks for being here. Just wanted you to know how much we appreciate having this store here.' My response was ... 'we love being here, too."
Lynch also says there are only two reasons she has been the "Head Fairy" at Fairytales for the last 6 years.
"Out of love for our customers and passion for products that make all of us smile. It certainly hasn't been about a paycheck," she said. "But with the recession, the growth of online shopping, the explosion of online discounters, and manufacturers selling to big box discounters, it has become basically impossible to compete. We can't contend with online retailers who don't have to charge sales tax, and do not have the overhead of an expensive storefront."
Business has been "scary bad at the store," no matter what she does or tries as store sales have slid month after month, she said.
"Our sales at the store are down 300 percent since our best year," she said. "Our rent certainly has not gone down by that percentage. And when sales are down like this, we have a very tough time bringing in new inventory. It is a Catch-22."
She doesn't want to give up, but said it is tough when a dream continues to take so much financial and personal sacrifice.
"And month after month, year after year, we see no positive news or trends," Lynch said. "We are slowly growing our online sales via iLoveFairytales.com, but with all the competition online, it is extremely tough. I prefer the personal interaction at the store, but going online was something we had to do ... just to keep the doors open."
Lynch isn't about to throw in the towel quite yet, and adds that she still believes in fairytales. Ever since the recession, the shop has offered 20 to 75 off its clothing.
"Customers always ask us why we do that," she said. "Our response is: 'we want you to come here first. And if we don't have something, then you can go to one of the big guys or online.
"I just can't imagine Dana Point or any other city in America without small, owner-operated stores," she continued. "It is what gives our communities their unique personalities."