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@Work: Arch Boutique

Jan 6, 2005 – Ten years ago Thecla Bailey started her business of selling shoes under an arch in Frederiksted. Now she has comfortable store at 63 King Street in Frederiksted. But she remembers the early days in the store name: Arch Boutique.
"Comfortable" might be a relative term. It is comfortable if you don't mind being surrounded by shoes and purses. There are so many shoes and purses everywhere, it looks like it might be time for Bailey to expand again soon.
More than 200 styles of shoes are for sale in the shop in sizes ranging from 7 to 11; some styles go up to size 13.
"The average shoe size is a 10 nowadays, up from recent years when the average size was a 9," Bailey said.
The price range of the shoes is $29.99 to $49.99. But this is all mostly for women.
For men she carries only two styles – one black and one brown. But the two styles are smart and practical. Many males would probably be satisfied, if they aren't looking for golf, running or other sport shoes.
Bailey does most of the buying three times a year at a shoe shows in Las Vegas. In the spring she will be buying for fall and winter.
Some of the brands she carries are Pierre Dumas of France, Bruno Valenti of Brazil, and Italian designers Valenti Franco and Aldo Roffini. These high-fashion, designer shoes are made of leather and manmade materials. Bailey has a large selection of gold and silver evening shoes and sandals for weddings, holidays and special occasions.
The store also has a large selection of stylish gold, silver, sequined and jeweled evening bags. Chic and stylish leather or manmade purses are available for the young "styling" girl, and there are conservative ladies' bags.
If you need to match a bag to a certain color of shoe, chances are Bailey has that color in stock. Purses are priced from $25 to $69.
Last year she opened a store in St. Thomas selling clothing and shoes, at the International Plaza between the waterfront and Main Street. The hours for that store are Monday through Saturday from 9 to 5 p.m. and the phone is 774-5551.
On St. Croix the store hours are 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Saturday. On cruise ship nights the store is open until 11, but that is subject to change.
"There has not been a big increase in business on cruise ship nights because most of my business is with locals. The locals do come back later to buy, though," she said.
Currently during the "peak season" she is having a sale with 20 percent off all shoes. There is a sale table with selected shoes at $10 almost all of the time.
"I have always loved to buy shoes and bags, so it was the natural thing to open a shoe store," she said. The unique thing about this store is the large selection of shoes available in downtown Frederiksted. For more information about the St. Croix store, call 772-5504.

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