by Kent Jennings Brockwell
Maria Jones thought about opening a women’s fashion store all her life. Now she has gone and done it.
Jones is the owner of Tiara, a women’s shoes and accessories store downtown that opened this week at 203 N. Laura St.
Jones said she came up with the idea of opening Tiara after researching the area and thinking about what kind of store the city lacked.
“As I started thinking about it I realized that there wasn’t a shoe store in Jacksonville that sold women’s shoes that were made by a specific designer that aren’t carried in the mall and that are under $150,” said Jones.
The 25-year-old Jones said she started seriously thinking about opening a store last January. Tired and bored with her job as a marketing director for a local architecture firm, Jones said she was ready for a change.
“I started looking for other jobs but everything I looked at was boring,” she said. “I needed something new. And it has always been a pastime of mine to look at fashion.”
And with a new store, new inventory and the newest styles, Jones said she has found her wonderful new job.
“I really proved to everyone that I could open this store,” she said.
Jones said her store is different that most shoe stores because she personally buys inventory that she would wear herself.
“I only buy what I like,” she said. “I believe that if you are not selling things that you would not buy yourself, other people will not buy them either. You can’t tell a customer that this is the next big thing if you don’t believe in it.”
Jones said affordability also makes her store different from the rest. Most of Jones shoes cost between $60 and $120. Besides shoes, Tiara also carries bags, jewelry and other gift items.
Jones believes Tiara will do well in downtown as the word of mouth gets around. And if Tiara’s opening night is any indication, Jones will do fine. Tiara had more than 40 guests during the two-hour open house event and Jones sold 10 pair of shoes.
“That is more than I could have expected for an opening night. It was a good kick start for the store.
“I am hoping that Tiara will grow and prosper with downtown. I am hoping that as the downtown area grows, this place will be so busy I will have to switch out the inventory every month.