As Cate Davis and Sally Mason prepared to close their Skaneateles women’s clothing boutique, cate&sally, they reached out to another village business owner to ask if she was interested in the space.
For Lisa Dietz, the question couldn’t have come at a better time.
Dietz, who opened fellow women’s clothing boutique Emma + James in 2016, watched her business change greatly during the COVID-19 pandemic. As she sold more items through her online store and Instagram due to social distancing, her customers got younger and trendier. Meanwhile, she lost the ones looking for clothing they could wear to work.
Dietz asked herself what the next step for her business would be. Then, two days later, she was contacted by Davis and Mason.
“It was destiny,” she told The Citizen on Tuesday. “I know that sounds silly, but I’m so into things like that.”
A month after meeting with the retiring cate&sally owners, Dietz decided to take over their 4 E. Genesee St. space. On Jan. 28, she opened her new, sister business to Emma + James there.
The boutique’s name was inspired by those fortunate circumstances: Hap + Main.
“‘Hap’ means destiny, or coming about by luck or chance,” she said. “So I thought it was appropriate.”
Though it’s also dedicated to women’s clothing, the new business complements Emma + James with a higher price point and a slightly older demographic in mind. Emma + James, located at 25 Jordan St., mostly sells items that cost $100 or less and are for ages 18 to 40. At Hap + Main, Dietz raised her price ceiling to $150 and her age range to 24 and older.
But the 36-year-old Long Island native, who studied at the Fashion Institute of Technology and worked for Ralph Lauren, Bloomingdale’s and more before opening Emma + James, takes a similar approach to selecting clothes for her new store. She even brought some brands from her first store to Hap + Main. She finds new ones by browsing markets, like a recent trip to New York City with an employee, and seeing what catches her eye and meets her criteria for price and quality. A recent addition is Faherty, a brand that has “blown up” in the last year, she said.
“It’s very much a Skaneateles vibe,” Dietz said.
Likewise, the look of Hap + Main isn’t out of place in the lakeside village. It’s bright and beachy, Dietz said, with wicker and rattan all over.
Dietz moved to Skaneateles around the time she opened Emma + James, and she said the community’s support has been just as crucial to the growth of her business as any happenstance.
“It’s unbelievable how amazing this village is as far as supporting local, especially through COVID-19,” she said. “I’m thankful for this town and my customers.”