Sifting through clothing racks and sipping on cocktails, Gainesville fashionistas enjoyed a sale at Wolfgang boutique Friday, in honor of the store’s five-year anniversary.
Wolfgang, located at 1127 W. University Ave., offered a grab-bag sale to all customers who visited the store, with a chance to receive discounts of up to 50 percent off any one item, in addition to 15 percent-off the entire shop.
Cocktails were provided by 2nd Street Speakeasy bar, where Wolfgang owner Matthew Turner bartends during the week. Drinks ranged from beer and wine to vodka- or gin-based drinks.
College girls sipped on a watermelon punch with mint and vodka — a signature drink Turner, 30, said he toyed with at Speakeasy for the event.
Also in honor of the event, Turner and his employees created a 22-song fall mix with indie and electro-inspired tracks. The staff burned copies of the mix that shoppers could take with them for free.
“I love doing customer appreciation nights like these,” Turner said. “There’s no better way to celebrate our five years in business than treating our customers to something special.”
Sheer blouses, vibrant jewelry and colorful pants filled the modern boutique — and not just on the racks. Wolfgang’s trendy style was apparent on the fashion-forward girls who attended the event, like Leanne Yarn, a 23-year-old interior design senior.
“I was interning in New York City this summer, and a lot of the clothes in this store remind me of what the professional women and young girls wore in the city,” Yarn said. “The clothing is just very trendy and perfect for college girls here in Gainesville.”
For Natalia Silva, a 22-year-old interior design senior, Wolfgang provides a unique style that suits her individuality.
“Not everyone is going to have the same dress or shirt, which you would see a lot when shopping at stores in the mall,” Silva said. “The clothing is very fresh and up-to-date, which is hard to find in many brand name stores.”
Wolfgang provides a wide variety of brand clothing, ranging from BB Dakota and Dolce Vita to local fashion brands like Off White Apparel, the urban-style clothing line designed by 20-year-old journalism junior Darshay Davis.
“I design a lot of cut-off shorts and tank tops with an urban appeal,” Davis said. “Cut-off shorts are really hot right now, so networking with Wolfgang provided the store with some custom, one-of-a-kind shorts that city girls will appreciate.”
Wolfgang’s location within walking distance to UF and sorority row has proved vital to the store’s success.
In addition to the location, Turner’s decision to modify the store helped it survive the economic breakdown.
“The success of the business has come through trial and error. We started out with both men and women’s clothing and carrying the higher-end labels such as Marc by Marc Jacobs,” Turner said. “Then the economy crashed, and people were tightening up their spending, so we had to reinvent ourselves.”
After the store’s first year in business, Turner preordered more clothing, thinking he would do more business in his second year, he said. The economy faltered, and the store brought in less business than expected, leaving Turner with excess inventory, he said.
“Bills came piling up, and payroll was getting tight. It was a financial nightmare,” he said. “I was wondering whether I was going to have enough money to pay my employees and even myself.”
Turner thought fast and acted quickly, deciding to get rid of the men’s clothing and become a full women’s boutique. He stopped selling expensive brand names and found clothing brands with the same unique style but for much less and with much more merit, he said.
“Almost every single store that was here when I opened is gone now,” he said. “Things got better, we’ve really found our niche on what works. And now, five years later, I’m still here.”
Sophie Torrents, an 18-year-old English freshman, browses through clothing racks at Wolfgang’s five-year anniversary event Friday. Customers who attended enjoyed a sale and free cocktails.