From Cache to Panache

Fashion

BY JACOB OGLES SRQ DAILY MONDAY BUSINESS EDITION MONDAY JUL 20, 2015

Darci Jacob sent nearly two decades doing profitable business for Caché. She opened the fashion company’s location at Westfield Southgate, and she was there when the store was among the Opening Day tenants for The Mall at University Town Center. So she wasn’t quite sure what to do with herself when every Caché location in the nation shut down in May. But then she was approached by a former district manager, Clara Schneider, with an irresistible proposal, a chance to open her own fashion boutique. 

Panache will open at a space in Downtown Sarasota on Oct. 1, on Main Street in a space between Encore! and PJ’s. After years in retail working for such companies as Caché, Brooks Fashion Stores and Jones New York, Jacob will run her own shop, with Schneider, who runs the boutique Em’s on Fifth in Mount Dora, acting as silent but “not-so-silent” partner. “This is something I have wanted to do since I was 12 years old,” Jacob said. “It’s time.” In many ways, the timing has proved serendipitous. Jacob has a child who will graduate school next year and is happy living in Southwest Florida with her husband but remains uninterested in retiring just yet. 

The store will likely be similar to Caché both in the market owners are trying to reach and the sort of inventory carried on racks. But Jacob also has embarked on new set of tasks she didn’t do when working at Caché, like developing new relationships with vendors. 

She remains confident, largely because she was able to run profitable stores for almost her whole run at Caché. She led the Southgate store to profitable years all but two years, and those two were at the peak of the Great Recession in 2007 and 2008. (The UTC store was closed before finishing its first year of business). She will rely heavily on the employee base left unemployed by Caché’s closing. She already has snagged Jackie O’Brien and Gladys Avizanno, the other members of the team that originally opened the Southgate Caché, to join her team at Panache, and will open her store with 6-10 employees, a group also heavily populated by ex-Caché workers.

Hopefully, a loyal base of customers will also follow Jacob back into the store. “I want to maintain the customer service our customers were provided at Caché,” she said. “Even though that was a corporation, we treated it like a boutique as far as customer service. We always made sure our clients left happy, and we built relationships with 100 percent of our clients. We wanted it to be a place where everybody knew everybody, and that’s what we want to do here.”

Pictured: Darci Jacob poses between Jackie O’Brien and Gladys Avizanno at the Caché location at The Mall at University Town Center before the store's May closing.

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