In the late ‘90s, April Hope remembers spotting a small “For Rent” sign on a little storefront in downtown Stuart. After working in retail for more than a decade, she thought to herself, “Well, why not?”
“I knew I could do it, so I went for it,” she says of starting her boutique, April Daze. “I opened on a shoestring budget and maxed out a few credit cards. It was scary, but worth it.”
In three years, she earned back her entire investment and then some. Hope recently celebrated 20 years of running her chic boutique in downtown Stuart, which offers an eclectic line of clothing, shoes, jewelry, home decor and gifts.
“The store became way more successful than I ever could have dreamed,” Hope says. “Twenty years went by in a flash. Looking back, I’ve had 20 years of fun, friendship and the most wonderful memories; I’ve curated a space that feels good and makes customers want to return.”
How did April Daze begin? Was it always your dream to open a boutique?
After living in England for a year with my boyfriend, I moved to Boca Raton, Florida, in my early 20s to be near my sister. I worked at The Body Shop, the body care company from England, for almost 10 years, where I was in charge of merchandising and buying for all eight stores in Palm Beach and Miami. After a stint in Charleston, South Carolina, for a few years to be closer to family, I ended up back in Florida—this time in Stuart, where I opened April Daze.
What’s your process like for choosing items that make it into the store?
I find items for the store everywhere I go. I am always on the hunt, but I have to love something to want to bring it into April Daze. With all of the competition in the world these days, you have to be aware and open to new and different things. Anyone who has been in the store knows there is something for everyone, whether you’re looking for clothing, a special piece of jewelry or a funny gift. We have a corner dedicated to joke items, where people literally stand and laugh throughout the day. It’s those little moments that make it all worth it.
How does it feel to be celebrating the 20th anniversary of April Daze?
Right before our 20th anniversary party this past October, I woke up early and couldn’t wait to get into the store to start merchandising. That’s when I thought to myself, ‘It’s unbelievable how I still love doing this after so many years.’ It’s not always easy but it sure is gratifying.
When looking forward, what do you think the next 20 years will look like for the boutique?
My staff and so many of my customers are my family. Without them, there is no April Daze. You know you have made it when your customers hug you and tell you they love you. They make all of this worthwhile. As for the future, I hope to keep rockin’ at April Daze and give customers what they want! And have a good time doing it.