July 21, 2024
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Carly’z Craze Opens in New Location on Cedar Lane

Teaneck—Back to school shopping is in full swing. The hum of the pencil sharpeners can be heard as parents fill their carts with marble composition books, pens, and three ring binders. But in addition to finding the best price on filler paper and trying to figure out what exactly will be done with the 15 folders requested, parents must find a variety of clothing to meet school dress codes. Buying from multiple websites, schlepping kids after camp to three different stores in the mall and returning rejected clothing might be fun for some families, but for those looking for the convenience of a one-stop-shop, many choose to head to Carly’z Craze.

Located on Cedar Lane in Teaneck, Carly’z Craze stocks “modest, fashionable, reasonably priced clothing,” described Alene Brodsky, co-owner of Carly’z Craze. Alene and her co-owner, Wendy Borodkin, opened the store in 2011 after Alene had sold the Kosher Casual line of clothing from Israel privately for three years. With as many options as they offered to the modest and fashionable consumer in their brand new store, they soon began to outgrow their quarters, and this past June, Carly’z Craze opened at 472 Cedar Lane,  in the old Simply The Best clothing store location.

Instead of a mere 600 square feet, the new store has 2400 square feet, plus a basement and a central location at the intersection of Garrison and Cedar Lane. That perfect spot increased Carly’z Craze foot traffic. New customers who never made it to the old store, stopped, and people window shopping or doing other chores, come in to check it out. Simply the Best’s former customers stop in looking for something to fill the need that ‘Simply’ offered them.  The partners were smart—they bought up Simply the Best’s inventory because, “We didn’t want to abandon Simply the Best customers,” said Brodsky, “and our focus will always be on modest, fashionable clothing at moderate prices.

Brodsky and Borodkin stay on top of trends and carry more than just one brand for the same look Because of the increase in space, they were able to add new lines of clothing, and variety to existing lines, with more regular inventory in stock. Carly’z Craze has clothing to accommodate all different body types.

The Kosher Casual line, known for its soft, stretchy, and comfortable clothing is made in Israel and a huge part of Carly’z Craze fashion statement. They carried  Hydrochic swimsuits and skirts in the old store, and now stock three different lines of modest swimwear, in three different price ranges. They increased the number of dressing rooms—from two to four—and increased the number of employees, too.

The move from private sales in small storefront, to a large shop in a central location, was not without certain challenges. The Blue Laws in Bergen County do not allow stores like Carly’z Craze to open on Sundays.

Borodkin and Brodsky try to find ways to maximize the times during which they are allowed to open. “To have a brick and mortar store without weekend Sunday hours can negatively impact a business,” explained Brodsky. “We are so grateful to the community for their support in making our store so successful, even without the convenience of Sunday hours.” With store hours until 8 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays, and the hopes of adding another late night on Wednesdays, Carly’z Craze aims to be open when their customers need them.

The other challenge is the competition from the web, where many items are deeply discounted. Brodsky and Borodkin are aware of the challenges, and they have not been seriously impacted. “There is a huge value to having everything you need for school wardrobes under one roof,” said Borodkin. “When we opened in 2011, the economy was weak and customers were looking for affordable clothing. We opened with moderately-priced clothing and we aim to keep our prices reasonable.”

Added value: Brodsky and the staff  “know all the dress codes, for all the schools in the area,”  well as carrying fancier “Shabbos clothing”—making Carly’z Craze a “one-stop-shop.”

Wendy and Alene enjoy working with customers, and helping them find the perfect look. “We love the little ‘oohs and aahhs’ of the girls as they try on their clothing,” said Brodsky. They discovered that in addition to being fashion experts, they had to navigate between a mom and her kids. “We serve as a neutral party to help smooth things over,” explained Brodsky and Borodkin.

Bigger and better than ever, Carly’z Craze retains the notable warmth and down to earth customer service they have always been known for.  Entire families welcome. Wendy and Alene keep a basket of books, toys, and other activities available to occupy younger siblings, and staff members have been known to hold babies for busy moms in need of free hands. “We grew from a need in the community and want the community to stay happy,” said Brodsky .

by Jenny Gans

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