By Stephanie Manley
FAIR HAVEN – After only a few months, SadieJames Boutiques owner Chelsea Delaney is sold on Fair Haven.
Delaney, who always wanted to open her own store, originally planned to buy CocoTay in Sea Bright from her good friend, Taylor Blaisdell. “We were working out final details and then (Super Storm Sandy) hit,” says Delaney, who then had to start over again.
In a collaborative effort, Blaisdell and Delaney set out to find a new location for a store they would open together. The two friends decided on the storefront formerly occupied by Nature’s Emporium at 769 River Road. They were ready to place a deposit on the Fair Haven location, when Blaisdell took on bigger responsibilities at her current job and decided not to go through with the retail venture.
“It was a lot of work,” Delaney says about starting fresh on her own. The store had holes in the wall and the floors needed resurfacing. Delaney’s years of experience in retail and customer service, however, left her excited and ready to embrace the challenge.
SadieJames, which opened on May 2, is a reinvention of the CocoTay brand that also brings more styles and inventory to the selling floor.
Blaisdell, and other friends supported Delaney with initial projects and continue to help out.
SadieJames brings unique and chic clothing brands to the Fair Haven area, and carries lines such as Nanette Lepore, Gretchen Scott and Boulevard Bags. Delaney is inspired by all things nautical and also gives priority to brands made in the USA.
“I love coming to work every day,” she says, “I’m excited about it.”
Delaney is happy with the decision to locate in Fair Haven. If given the chance now to go to Sea Bright, she said she wouldn’t relocate. “I think Sea Bright is a great town and I wish the best for residents and businesses rebuilding, but I love being in this location,” Delaney says. “I love Fair Haven.
“The summer has been great,” she says. “We are definitely gaining every day – new customers, as well as valued returning customers.”
Delaney says SadieJames relies on all the “great foot traffic” as well as visits from local residents. “Finding the space in Fair Haven is just wonderful,” she says, and cites a newly opened women’s clothing store as a sign of a growing trend in town. “It brings more variety and complements my store.”
SadieJames is one of many new additions to Fair Haven’s River Road shopping area. The Java Stop and Gourmet Picnic have been replaced by new establishments, Booskerdoo and Balderose Fine Foods.
Delaney thinks the changes are positive and she’s happy to be part of it. “This is a real family-oriented town and a walking town,” she says. “I think Fair Haven is slowly reinventing itself as the shopping destination it used to be,” she says.