Meet Your Merchant: La Te Da
La Te Da
167 Mill St., Grass Valley
Hours: Mon. through Sat., 11 to 5 p.m.
Sunday noon to 4 p.m.
Growing up in Nevada County, Debbie Dejesus had always dreamed of owning a clothing store. She’d always had an interest in fashion trends and found herself seeking out styles that were hard to find in Nevada County. Dejesus finally realized her dream in 2001, when she opened her clothing store, La Te Da, then located in the middle of the block on Mill Street in Grass Valley.
“I always envisioned a store where I would provide great clothing for our local community,” said Dejesus. “I wanted someone to come in and find things that others weren’t wearing — I wanted the clothing to be fun, so I wanted the name of the store to be fun too.”
Finally, said customers, sought after brands and trendy clothing lines were available to Nevada County women. As a result, business took off.
But 10 years in, Dejesus was ready for an adventure. In 2011, she closed the doors of La Te Da and moved to the Bay Area, where she began peddling her clothes while traveling around to different cities. Taking advantage of a movement that began with gourmet food trucks, Dejesus took part in clothing and food truck events in various cities. Once regular customers became familiar with her wares, she began hosting private shopping parties with businesses and individuals. When her longtime Nevada County customers learned what she was doing, she began to host shopping parties back in her hometown.
It was then that she realized how much she missed her family, friends, and her brick-and-mortar store.
In November of 2013, Dejesus reopened the doors of La Te Da, only this time in a smaller retail space on the corner of Mill and Neal streets. It didn’t take long before longtime customers — many of whom had been coming to the store since 2001 — began popping in, pleasantly surprised by Dejesus’ return.
She loves the smaller store, she says, and merchandise turns over quickly, so there are new items almost daily. Five to six times a year she travels to large apparel shows in Los Angeles and Las Vegas, which she says is a fun dimension to her business. Cindy Latimer helps out on the floor several times a week, and Dejesus’ mother, Cathy Wasley, has been known to pop in and “help make the store beautiful.”
In addition to clothing, items for sale include purses, jewelry, socks, scarves, hats, candles, belts and other accessories. Top brands include clothing by Michael Stars, Kersh, Elan, Wooden Ships, Coin 1804, Mavi Jeans, PJ Salvage pajamas, Hue leggings and perfume by Lollia.
“Our sale rack is always full of good stuff,” said Dejesus. “Our merchandise is funky, fun, casual dress — versatile things that are easy to wear. Our customers tend to range from age 20 on up.”
Needless to say, Dejesus is happy to be home. She is engaged to Kevin Hastings, a senior project manager in home construction and the couple share a home with Hastings’ children, ages 13, 12 and 9. Dejesus’ son, age 24, is happily out on his own — building robots for Google.
In addition to her beloved store, Dejesus will soon be working part time in real estate — a job she also enjoyed years ago.
“The best part of my job has always been my customers,” she said. “Some have been coming to La Te Da for over a decade, so I think of them as friends. I’ve had so much support from the community.”
To contact Staff Writer Cory Fisher, email her at email@example.com or call 530-477-4203.
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