By Kim Mikus
Susan Lurie, who started her career a custom leather designer, started ENAZ 20 years ago in Highland Park. Over the years, her three daughters have joined and assisted in expanding the business. The most recent expansion involves opening on Church Street in downtown Libertyville this summer.
Address: 111 Church St., Libertyville 60048; 444 Central Ave., Highland Park 60035; 309 Happ Road, Northfield, 60093
Owners: Susan Lurie, Melinda Lurie Kaplan, Lena Lurie Blitstein & Samantha Lurie
Year opened: 20 years in Highland Park & 4 years in Northtfield
Web address: www.enaz.com
Number of employees: 15 and hiring
We talk to the owners about how they have managed to grow the stores that cater to women.
Q: The business is expanding to Libertyville. When will that happen?
A: With construction under way, we are expected to open toward the end of June or middle of July. During this time, Libertyville has farmer's markets every Thursday and Late Friday's with live music at various locations. ENAZ overlooks the park in the center of Libertyville so these types of activities will be sure to draw attention to our store. Plus, summer time is a great opportunity to walk around the town and shop.
Q: Tell us about Enaz.
A: ENAZ is a mother/daughter store that houses local jewelry artisans, novelty and comfortable denim, button downs, evening tops and dresses, a wide selection of T-shirts and sweaters, and well-priced handbags. ENAZ thrives on customer service and catering to their every day needs. Our employees always love to put together a look from head-to-toe and make shopping fun! A comfortable atmosphere with an enthusiastic sales force, ENAZ inhabits a fun, eclectic, urban shopping experience. It's a great place to buy a gift (free gift wrapping) or check out the custom, private label Spa Bar.
Q: How did the business start?
A: The family-run business started in 1993 by Susan Lurie, who began her career as a custom leather designer and needed a place to house her designs. Her daughter Melinda Kaplan joined her shortly after, handling the backbone of the store which are the financials. She also refers to herself as a "fashion therapist," since helping customers is one of her favorite things to do. Samantha Lurie joined the business in 2005 where she felt the need to really introduce a mother-daughter experience. With her previous years in Los Angeles as a sale representative and her love for fashion, Samantha became the visual merchandiser and buyer. Lena Blitstein then added her business experience to the family when she finally moved home after living in Los Angeles and New York also as a sales representative for eight years in a multiline showroom. She also partnered up with Samantha to help with the buying. The dynamic is truly a prefect combination since each sibling offers something different. Plus, there's something to be said about a family-run business who sisters are destined to carry on the family legacy.
Q: Many boutiques are not able to make it, yet expand. Besides customer service, what's the secret?
A: Having the right merchandise is vital. Knowing who your customer is and their lifestyle is crucial. For instance, we are in the suburbs. We cater to young moms who want to be fashionable but comfortable. We understand what styles work for their bodies. We also know that people take vacations and enjoy a night out. For that we always make sure to have a fun "going out top" or a dress for a special occasion. It's also important to keep things exciting like having special sales, surprise discounts at the register or fun gifts with purchases. A welcome atmosphere is also important. With comfortable seating and music, it's a great place for men and kids to come by and hang while the women shop. Also, the appearance of the store needs to be attractive to the eye. How we merchandise and display helps with the appeal of the merchandise.
Q: Who is your target customer?
A: Women age 25-65
Q: What is one interesting aspect about the business that most would not know.
A: Having such a wide range of female clientele. Catering to ages 25-65 seems like a big stretch but we honestly have something for women. Whether it's a certain style or a special price point we fulfill every need. The only items we do not carry are bathing suits, lingerie and footwear. People come in for gifts for any occasion whether it be Mother's Day, birthday, Bat-Mitzvah, etc.
Q: What is the most difficult aspect in running a family business?
A: Getting along with each other! The truth is we are sisters with strong business sense and opinions. We are all very passionate about ENAZ and making it the best environment. But without the blood, sweat and tears, there would be no reward. We wouldn't trade our experiences for anything. There's nothing more fulfilling than making your mother proud and continuing to grow.
-- Kim Mikus
• Every Monday we feature a small local business. We want to hear about yours. Contact Kim Mikus at firstname.lastname@example.org.