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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Winter clothing takes University Blvd. boutiques by storm

Grace Garfoot
Swindlers is a Tucson-based boutique that caters to the fashion trends of University of Arizona students. The shop can be found near campus at 906 E. University Blvd.

As the winter season begins, University Boulevard clothing stores have purchased their usual supply of cold-weather clothing, but Tucson’s record highs and lasting heat are leading to lower sales. Shop owners are trying to find ways to combat this potential issue and keep a positive outlook. 

“We could be selling swimsuits but we’re not going to get any more because, with all the other stores, there’s no demand for it. So, they choose to not have those, which impacts us a lot,” said Anna Ensminger, the store manager for Pitaya, one of the shops in the area

Pitaya is not specific to Tucson, with 16 stores across the nation, mostly based in the Midwest and East Coast. Because of this range, the surplus of winter clothes that Ensminger’s store receives in the early winter months can have relatively damaging repercussions when they don’t sell as well because of the Tucson heat. 

Swindlers, a store across the street from Pitaya, faces a similar issue. 

“We always have to order the items, because Arizona’s kind of unique in the way where it’s hotter here, but everywhere in the nation it’s colder so all the vendors or sweaters may sell out. So, we get them in advance,” said Christina Henneke, the owner of Swindlers

Though Swindlers is specific to Tucson, the competitiveness of vendors and purchasing clothing to sell forces the boutique to buy winter clothing that may not sell well because of the Tucson heat, which has the potential to hurt the store’s business.

Swindlers is specific to Tucson, so it doesn’t face the same issue as Pitaya, but it still sells winter clothing in order to keep up with its competitors selling the same. Regardless of how many stores are offering winter clothing to shoppers, though, the lack of cooler weather in Tucson is affecting the number of sales being made.

However, these boutiques have developed ways to try to combat this issue.

“We have an interaction where all the managers communicate every week about what they loved in their orders, [and] what they didn’t love, so we can all compare and contrast. That way our buyer can go through and see that Tucson didn’t need 200 pairs of sweatpants and could’ve used tank tops instead,” Ensminger said, explaining how communication between the managers helps higher-ups in the company understand how the different orders affect the different stores. 

“We communicate really well through there and it makes life really easy,” Ensminger said.   

Henneke conveyed a different perspective on this issue, however. 

“Recently, especially with vintage sweaters, they’re so on trend they tend to sell no matter what,” Henneke said.

Despite the fact people tend to wait for the cold to buy winter clothing (which can causes the stores to wait, too), trends such as vintage sweaters or jackets help these boutiques sell their winter clothes — even in the heat, because a lot of people want to keep up with the trends sweeping through the rest of the nation. 

At the same time, Henneke said she believes the hotter winter weather in Tucson might encourage people to shop more than they normally would during colder winters.

“People love shopping when it’s hot. They love shopping in the sunshine,” Henneke said.

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