GREENWICH, Conn. -- Ellen Christian-Reid waited her entire life to own a retail clothing store. When an opportunity arose to join merchants on Greenwich Avenue, one of the region’s most popular shopping destinations, she knew her wait was over.
Christian-Reid, a resident of Pound Ridge, last week opened Montepicaza at 371 Greenwich Ave. The business offers men’s and women’s fashion sportswear and accessories, such as wallets, bags, scarves and shoes. The store is the first in the United States for Spain-based Montepicaza. The Greenwich location was the former home of Alexis Bittar, a jewelry store.
- Who : Ellen Christian-Reid, of Greenwich and Pound Ridge
- What : Owner of Montepicaza, a new clothing store on Greenwich Avenue
- Learn more: On Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/montepicazagreenwich/
“This is a dream come true,’’ said the energetic Christian-Reid, who also has a home in Greenwich. “Owning a store has always been in the back of my mind. I’m excited to get started.”
Christian-Reid already has a business background in Greenwich. She worked for Convent of the Sacred Heart, a private girls school, for its annual giving program. She also worked at Wooster School in Danbury and Hopkins School in New Haven in fundraising positions.
Christian-Reid also has experience working for other retail fashion leaders such as Talbot's, Benneton, Ann Taylor and The Limited. She will blend all of those skills into her role as the owner of Montepicaza.
“Certainly the marketing piece, getting the message out about who we are and what we stand for, are very similar,’’ Reid-Christian said. “It’s organization, customer service, people skills and communication. They are all very similar to what I have done before.”
Montepicaza is known as a classic sportswear brand with artisanal flair and a supreme level of tailoring. The quality and attention to detail are similar to Polo’s Black Label with price tags that resemble popular contemporary brands. The quality of Montepicaza products appealed to Reid-Christian the first time she saw it.
“What impressed me was the quality of the material, the craftsmanship, the details,’’ Christian-Reid said. “It looks like a much more expensive product than it actually is.”
The brand offers sizes from 0-14 and is designed to accentuate the body. Montepicaza’s merchandise is similar to Polo’s Black Label. Oscar Bermudez, who founded the business in 1999, wanted to design a business model that would revitalize the artistic process of textile manufacturing in Spain. Most manufacturers produce their items in Asia, but Montepicaza has established itself as one of the most recognized contemporary brands on the fashion scene in Spain. It has more than 40 franchised stores and is sold in 120 department stores.
“It’s clothing that you’d be comfortable running around town in, or meeting for drinks later,’’ Christian-Reid said. “The look and the feel of the clothes are so stylish. They offer something unique that is unlike anything else.”
Christian-Reid feels the Montepicaza line is perfect for Greenwich Avenue, with its mix of eclectic stores and fashionistas who stroll the marketplace looking for the best in contemporary clothing.
“Being a shopper, I have a good sense of what people are looking for,’’ Christian-Reid said. “With my philanthropy background, I know a lot of people who live in shop and Greenwich. I’m looking forward to connecting with the community, and giving back. We’re here, and we’re here to stay. We want to be part of the community.”
Montepicaza plans to open stores in Nantucket, Newport, Southampton, Boston and Palm Beach and the brand will soon be offered for sale online in 2017.
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