LITCHFIELD — Life has a way of serendipitously leading us to the right place at the right time. That is exactly what happened to Nancy MacMillan-Stedronsky, owner of Serendipity Boutique and Gallery.
After getting married and moving to Litchfield from Stratford two years ago, MacMillan-Stedronsky discovered the boutique soon thereafter while exploring the town.
“It quickly became one of my favorite stores,” she said. She would often go there to shop for herself and to buy gifts for family and friends. “I would tell other people about it all the time and encourage them to shop there themselves.”
MacMillan-Stedronsky was thriving in her new life in Litchfield, but she struggled to find full time employment.
“I come from a real estate development background,” she explained. “For about a year, my full time job became looking for a job.”
While hiking one day, the friend she was with casually mentioned that the boutique was for sale. Shortly after that hike, she stopped in the to chat with the previous owner, Liliana Kleid, about the store being up for sale.
“I wanted to get all of the information I could,” MacMillan-Stedronsky said. “I wanted to see the financials and everything relating to the business.” As she talked with Kleid, she realized that this just might be the opportunity she never knew she was looking for.
“That was my serendipity,” she recalled. “That little voice inside my head said, ‘You could do this!’”
Three months later, in July of 2018, MacMillan-Stedronsky officially closed on the purchase of the business and became Serendipity Boutique and Gallery’s new owner.
“We stayed open through August, then closed for September and part of October to renovate the space,” she explained. MacMillan-Stedronsky and her husband painted, finished some walls and floors that were still unfinished and replaced lighting.
“The boutique has been transformed into a more shabby chic concept with wood and glass showcases, tile counter, Vogue cover images, etc. We made the space more comfortable,” she said.
The boutique features many one-of-a-kind items for sale. “We have a lot of new-grade vintage clothing from the 1960s and 1970s,” MacMillan-Stedronsky explained. “There are some really neat wrap dresses and ’70s-style blouses in addition to new clothing.” MacMillan-Stedronsky takes like-new vintage items on consignment.
The boutique also sells costume and new jewelry, pearls, retro home décor, and aromatherapy and personal care items.
“When you walk into the store, you never know what unique piece you’ll find,” she said.
The gallery part of the space showcases works by local artists. “When I first took ownership of the store, I hired a curator to help pull together the gallery experience and find local artists.” Serendipity has since hosted four successful shows and is currently on its fifth.
“We’d like to do more popup exhibits,” MacMillan-Stedronsky said, “where we have artists in here for a month and then change it up. The goal is for the gallery be a gathering place to promote local artists and educate the community about the arts.”
Where does MacMillan-Stedronsky plan to take the business in the future?
“Right now I am working on developing my online presence,” she said. “I am active on Facebook and Instagram. I am also working on an online retail store where patrons may purchase things directly from the website.”
“We have so much inventory, including clothing, home décor items and furniture, that it won’t all fit into the boutique,” MacMillan-Stedronsky explained.
During the slow winter season, she plans to go picking at estate sales and flea markets to find interesting pieces to sell.
“I never dreamed I would be doing retail,” MacMillan-Stedronsky said. “It’s hard, but I truly enjoy it. I’ve put a lot of energy into it and I hope people will begin to rediscover Serendipity and enjoy it as much as I do.”
Serendipity Boutique and Gallery is at 3 West Street, Litchfield, below @ the Corner restaurant. It is open Wednesday through Friday from noon to 6 p.m., Saturday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. The store is also open by appointment. MacMillan-Stedronsky may be contacted by phone at 203-536-9856, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or visit www.serendipityoflitchfield.com.