Paige Sullivan recently opened a third location for her boutique — Christine Shirley. Christine Shirley’s Annville location, 113 E. Main St., held its grand opening Sept. 23.
“I’m from Lebanon, and friends have been urging me to open something close to home. I’ve had my eye on Annville for a while — it’s a college town and it’s a great location for a boutique. I just needed to find the right space,” she said.
The space turned out to be the first floor or the little yellow house across from the Allen Theatre & Backstage Café. “I’m proud of this space. It’s a 400 square-foot shoe box, but it has a great vibe like my other locations,” she said.
Sullivan has been sewing her entire life — initially making scrunchies to sell at yard sales. “I’ve always had a passion to sew. Around here more people sew, but in most places sewing is sort of a lost art,” she explained, “In high school I liked home ec. I was into fashion illustrating and designing garments.”
Her senior project at Lebanon High School was a tennis line she envisioned Serena Williams wearing. That project became Sullivan’s portfolio, which gained her admission to Syracuse University’s fashion design program. She also studied retail management. “I’m putting all that knowledge to use right now with my own business,” Sullivan said.
A college internship at Anthropologie, a women’s clothing and lifestyle brand, in New York City, was a stepping stone to her first job out of college working as a visual manager and then as an apparel manager in Anthropologie’s Wayne and Philadelphia locations.
She launched Christine Shirley Sewing & Designs in Wayne in 2015. The business’ name is a combination of Sullivan’s middle name — Christine — and the fact that she grew up on Shirley Drive. Initially it was a sewing studio that offered classes for people of all ages to learn to sew, stitch, embroider, knit or crochet. Three years later Sullivan expanded, opening a retail store, Christine Shirley, featuring her own handmade clothing and apparel right next to the studio. A second location opened in 2020 in Stone Harbor, New Jersey; it’s open only during beach season.
“We have a very creative environment,” Sullivan said, “We’re really into hospitality, and the décor of the store changes monthly. It’s a shopping experience that focuses on customer service, and there’s a great ambience for all the senses. Purchases are wrapped up like a gift package.”
“We also teach sewing classes and even fashion design (in the Wayne location). We take anyone who wants to learn. The teaching studio is very bright. It’s a bit like ‘Project Runway,’” she added.
Sullivan said she had been looking for a third location to serve as retail space for overstock items, and the Annville location fits the bill. “We still have the same focus on hospitality including a wonderful aroma in the store and attentive staff. The clothing and apparel is well made, it’s just overstock,” she stressed.
Instead of changing store décor monthly, it will change seasonally, or every quarter, in Annville. “Right now it’s fall. Our Christmas/holiday look will be great,” she said, “I think it will be something the area hasn’t had before.”
She’s hoping to offer classes and workshops in the future.
Christine Shirley’s Annville hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday; 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Friday; 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and noon to 4 p.m. Sunday. More information is available at christineshirleydesigns.com.
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