Alexandra Soper just came back from New York with a suitcase full of vintage jewelry and accessories. Business is growing at her Clifton boutique, All That Glitters, since the 22-year-old bought it a year ago from the previous owner.
"Clifton is perfect for a ladies day out," said Soper to Patch. "You go out and get a crepe and coffee and then go shopping. And trust me - I'm going to help you look amazing."
"All That Glitters" first opened in Texas, and then moved to Clifton about 30 years ago. Owner Martha Mikeska hired Soper when she was a 14-year-old student at Paul VI Catholic High School.
"I had to get a work permit," said Soper. "Everybody knew me as the girl who worked at the store in the Catholic school uniform."
After graduating high school, Soper studied at the Savannah College of Art and Design. She took a break after a year, and returned to Clifton. She got a job at "All That Glitters", was made manager within six months, and then, in 2011, a pathway unexpectedly opened.
"Martha kept saying, 'I really want to retire. I don't know what to do.' And then one day she asked me if I wanted to buy the store. She just threw it out there. I'd never thought about that possibility," said Soper. "It was a huge step and I just went with it and took a huge leap of faith. I figured that if I tried it and failed then I could chalk it up to experience and move on, but if I made it then who knows where it could lead."
Soper officially took over the business on Jan. 1, 2012, and shortly thereafter moved from 12466 Chapel Rd. to the current location at 7144 Main Street. She now has five part-time employees, lives with her childhood sweetheart and works like crazy.
"It was a stressful, crazy first year. I learned so much. I even had to fire some people, but now we've got a steady and reliable staff and I've learned how to manage effectively," she said. "I think I'm finding a good work-life balance, but I consider myself a workaholic. This is my baby and I'm not going to half-ass it. To make the store what it is takes a lot of time, but I love it."
"All That Glitters" carries such brands as Vera Bradley, Oka B. Shoes, AJ Morgan Eyewear, Spartina 449, Pandora, Brighton, John Medeiros and Anne Koplik.
How does Soper envision her future?
"Maybe I'll be the Mayor of Clifton. Who knows?" she said.