When location means everything, Understuff has found the right spot. The 11-year-old store is located in a historic downtown Fort Bragg, Calif. and according to it's owner Denise Parrott, struggles against no competitors.
"There is no competition in my area," she said. "We are on the North Coast and there are no malls! The closest competition is J.C. Penney's, which is and hour and a half away. Macy's is two."
With that, the store serves as a staple to many of the area's female shoppers looking for bras. "My best selling brands are Felina, Cuddlduds, and Vanity Fair," said Parrott. "We also sell a lot of Spanx. Due to my unique position, bras are my number one selling classification, followed by panties and sleepwear."
Understuff has attracts a large number of tourists visiting the area. "They shop with me every time they are on the coast," Parrott said. "I often hear the complaint that they cannot find their size or the variety of product anywhere else."
To further please customers, Parrott makes sure to keep her eye on the price tag of any product that she purchases. "I find no price resistance as long as bras are priced between $29-$45, although we do sell Wacoal at $55-$68," she said. "I try to be moderate in my purchasing, but I splurge on some luxury items because we do have clientele that will pay higher prices."
Despite the economic downturn Parrott finds herself in, she feels that her store continues to do well. Unlike department stores, Understuff carries a wide range of product and delivers them with a personal touch. "When a woman comes in telling her she cannot find bras in her size and she's a 38D, I laugh and show her all of her options," she said. "I believe that smalls stores like mine, that are properly stocked with product for their demographics, will not only survive but prosper."