Claire's Goubaud appealed to an affluent customer base that frequented the South Euclid shop during the 1960s for cocktail bags and pearl necklaces. The store then sold trinkets and bathroom accessories until 1980 when Bonnie Chernikoff converted her mother's shop into a unique women's apparel clothier.
"I put out these sweatshirts with multicolored giant stones, and 12 pieces sold in 30 minutes," she says. "I thought, clothes do sell."
But it's more than clothes that keep shoppers coming back to the boutique, which moved to Eton Chagrin Boulevard in 1992 and was renamed Bonnie's Goubaud. Its focus on customer service is a source of pride for the shop, which celebrates its 50th anniversary this month.
"We have a lot of second-, third- and fourth-generation customers and a couple originals," Chernikoff says. "We have customers who don't like to shop but love our store because we help them piece together a fabulous outfit."
Patrons come to the retailer for its timeless, yet contemporary garments and accessories from more than 100 boutique designers throughout the U.S. and beyond.
"I look for apparel that has that instant appeal. So when a customer tries on the item in the dressing room, you get that 'wow' factor," Chernikoff says.
Case in point: a Joseph Ribkoff colorblocked, cowl-neck pullover top ($250) warranted restock in all sizes (2-20) during early summer.
One-of-a-kind items also pepper the store, such as a Todd Anthony black clutch ($350), embellished with onyx, agate and Swarovski crystals.
"We find cottage industry designers who haven't yet hit the shark tank," Chernikoff says. "I've been the first customer to about 50 of my designers."
One of those designers includes Sharon Huebschwerlen, whom she met in the late 1980s at a New York trade show. The designer's Mycra-Pac black-and-white reversible raincoat ($280) comes with a patterned storage bag that can double as a clutch.
For fall, look for colors such as cobalt, plum and bright green, which debuted in the store last month.
"I'm really excited about a plum-colored, techno-stretch fabric pant that has no buttons, zippers or pockets," she says.
When You Go
28699 Chagrin Blvd., Woodmere, 216-831-4250, bonniesgoubaud.com
Indulge your footwear needs, from casual wear to cocktail hour, at upscale boutique Amy's Shoes. The neighboring shop has a carousel of brands that include All Black, Plenty by Tracy Reese and United Nude.
28601 Chagrin Blvd., Woodmere, 216-292-0120, amysshoes.com