Linnea’s: Fashionable, Plus Size & Regular-Size Clothing to Triad Women for Over 20 Years
By Rob Ainbinder
Clothes Balance Casual and Career with a Bit of Artistic Flair, Focus on Small Batch Designers.
From a sales career at News & Record publications to boutique owner, Linnea’s owner Jody Martin has seen a lot. Back in 2000, Jody was working for NC Publications, which was at that time a division of The News and Record and included Triad Style magazine.
Jody was an outside sales rep for them and she’d been there nine years. “I was kind of getting burned out. The magazine was trying to go in a different direction, and I knew that it wasn’t gonna work, so I was looking for something else to do.”, Jody says. “I decided that I wanted to open my own business, but I wasn’t sure what. So I went to my customers because a lot of my customers were boutique owners. And I asked them, what about me opening a plus-size store in Greensboro? And they said, Oh, that’s great.”
With that vote of confidence, Jody embarked on her mission to create a plus sized boutique. She began by asking one of her advertising customers to take her to her first Atlanta market. Jody says, “I bought clothes without having a storefront. This was in April of 2000. I went to market and I started buying clothes. I put my home address for where the boxes were going. And then after I went to market, I started looking for a place. And really at that time (April 2000) there weren’t that many places available. The commercial real estate market was kind of a tight.” Linnea’s first location was next to Maxi B’s Bakery on Battleground.
Linneas, was known for plus size 1X, 2X, 3X sizes but, when the business moved to State Street they established a misses store, Vera’s Threads. Vera was Jody’s grandmother’s name and Jody named the store in her honor. Vera’s specializes in small, medium, large, extra large. Now in their new location, the lines are combined into one store.
When you enter Linnea’s you are waited on. Jody says, “What we do is we help them find what they want, what they need, and we actually do wait on them. And we find some women don’t know how to put things together. So what we do is we help find what they’re looking for and match it up with some kind of pants, leggings, or tunic. We work to find out what they want, what fabric and so on. We have some designers that are a little more conservative, but then we have some that are from Israel and Turkey and are a little more artsy, creative, & funky.”
Jody is grateful for her customers. “My customers are very, very loyal, she says.” During the economic downturn, her husband Jeff joined the company to help out with online sales. Jody states that, “online has taken off. We do probably. I’d say 40% online and 60% in the store. So we ship, you know, all over the United States, Canada and Australia.”
The clothes that Linnea’s sells are from small batch designers. These designers sell smaller number of clothes to a retailer and usually handle a lot more of the work of running their company. Many of these small batch designers offer their retailers protected territories. Jody says, “I’m the only one that carries these clothing lines because my, designers protect me within about a 30 mile radius. In Greensboro, I’m the only ones that carry these lines because my, designers protect me.”
Right now, Linnea’s is currently running their winter clearance with 40 to 70% off.
Rob is a marketer, writer, and dad who lives in the Triad area. He writes on his blog at www.robainbinder.com
Linnea’s Boutique & Vera’s Threads
2136 Lawndale Dr. Greensboro
Mon – Fri: 11a – 6p
Sat: 11a – 5p