Boutique style in Dudley Square
Final Touch With Class, the newly opened women’s clothing boutique in the Bruce C. Bolling Municipal Building in Dudley Square, serves such a far-flung group of shoppers that co-owner Haris Hardaway and his sales staff keep Google Translate at the ready to assist their African, Latino, Cape Verdean, and Portuguese customers.
“It’s a mix, and that’s what Boston is,” said Hardaway, who opened the Roxbury store with his parents, Catherine and Danny, in November. “That was part of the plan of what people wanted in the neighborhood.”
Two years in the making, Final Touch With Class is the first fashion retailer in the Bolling building and the second store for the Hardaways (the original started in Mattapan before moving to the Westgate Mall in Brockton). But the 34-year-old Hardaway said the elegant Roxbury store, with its gold walls and colorful seating, is meant to be retail haven from the daily grind.
“That fashion therapy is real. Many people are so stressed out on a daily basis,” he said. “It’s like a barber shop, except it’s a boutique. They’ll come with coffee and leave for dinner.”
Dresses for all occasions (church-appropriate, black-tie gala) fill the racks at a price point that starts at $45 and averages $125-$150. There are also handbags, shoes, and jewelry, and the Hardaways plan to add menswear in the spring.
“I can’t tell you how many people come in and say, ‘I’m so glad you’re here. We’ve been waiting for something like this.’ Some of the older folk say, ‘This is what we used to have’ and the millennials say they’re going to lose their pockets,” that is, spend a lot of money, he said.
To keep customers from seeing duplicates of their purchases on other shoppers, Final Touch With Class only sells three of each item (a small, a medium, and a large) to ensure exclusivity.
“It’s important that care of our customers goes beyond the boutique doors,” said Hardaway, who thinks of his role as an activist as much as a neighborhood shopkeeper.
“It makes you feel good that people have faith in you,” he said, “and trust you for making their vision for their community come alive.”