Judi Weiner first fell in love with Nevada City when she traveled to the foothills more than a decade ago. A trained homeopath in Palos Verdes, she came for a flower essence seminar and went home ready to pack her bags and uproot her life.
“My husband, Bob, and I made a list of what we wanted in a town, and Nevada City was it,” she said. “My husband had retired, and we were both ready for a change. I wanted to do something different.”
In 2002, Bob and Judi moved north, and in 2004, Judi opened the doors of her new clothing store, Judi’s of Nevada City.
“My husband asked me, ‘What do you know about the clothing business?’” said Weiner with a laugh. “I told him, ‘I’ve been buying clothes for a long time — I like beautiful things.’”
As it turns out, Weiner was selling herself short. A native of Hancock Park, she grew up in a retail environment, as her father, then brother, ran a thriving produce business at the now-famous Farmers Market on Third Street and Fairfax Avenue in Los Angeles.
Yet Weiner wondered if she’d made a terrible mistake when only a handful of customers came into her shop the first few days of opening in August of 2004.
“I was relieved to finally learn it was the week of the fair,” she said. “Now I know that merchants expect a quiet week in August.”
Weiner celebrated her ninth anniversary Aug. 9 and has never looked back. Initially located near the top of Broad Street, Judi’s of Nevada City moved to its current location on Commercial Street five years ago.
While the shop is in a prime spot for tourist foot traffic, Weiner says the bulk of her customers are locals who have been coming to her for years.
“The most rewarding part of my job is having satisfied customers and the relationships I’ve built with the women who come in,” she said. “My goal is to offer quality clothing at a fair price. I want my customers to feel happy and confident when they walk out.”
Catering to a client base that generally ranges from 30-somethings on up, Weiner attends trade shows in Las Vegas twice a year, where she can personally choose and evaluate the quality of every piece of her inventory.
Weiner carries clothes, purses, pajamas, bathrobes, socks and accessories such as belts, sunglasses, jewelry and scarves. Popular brands include Jag Jeans, Neon Buddha, Nomadic Traders, Renuar, French Dressing Jeans and Big Buddha handbags.
“Comfort and washability is key,” she said. “Everything is carefully chosen. I like to see and touch items before I decide to carry them.”
Linda Elfert, who has worked for Weiner as a sales person for the past five years, agrees that the best part of the job is the people. She loves matching the perfect outfit with a longtime customer.
“Everything is personal, like family,” she said. “I sometimes feel like I’m with a girlfriend, and we’re trying on clothes in her closet. I know some customers so well that I’ll call them up when something I know they’ll love comes in.”
An exciting new development at the store has been the introduction of a popular new line of body creams called Library of Flowers, said Weiner. The line includes perfume, hand cream, bubble bath, soap, bath oil and more.
Consistent with the new line, flowers are an ongoing theme in Weiner’s life. Not only is there always a fresh bouquet in her store, she grows and distributes them through the Sun Ridge Family Farm Club.
“Community involvement is important. I participate in a variety of fundraisers throughout the year,” she said. “It’s important to give back.”
In addition to donating gift certificates to numerous nonprofit organizations and participating in charity fashion shows, the store has two special fundraiser days coming up. Along with special customer discounts, Weiner will donate a percentage of a day’s profits to The Friendship Club in October and Hospice of the Foothills in November.
But in the meantime, she’ll be trying to match that perfect outfit with whoever walks through the door. Going beyond what’s expected when it comes to customer service has rewarded Weiner over and over, she said.
“I even have a 95-year-old customer who calls ahead to make sure I’ll be here when she comes,” she said. “I know just what she likes.”
To contact staff writer Cory Fisher, email her at email@example.com or call 530-477-4203.