Do you know where you can upgrade your wardrobe with the help of a personal shopper, see a movie, and follow it all with a meal featuring soul food favorites, as well as burgers, sandwiches, a variety of sides and desserts, all under one roof? The answer is at the Enfield Square Mall in Connecticut!
Two of these enterprises are owned by Cindy Cobb and her business and life partner, Ralph Shout. Cindy has been one very busy lady, between her café, Cindy’s Food for the Soul, located next to the Cinemark movie theater, and her newly opened consignment shop, Claudette’s Boutique.
The boutique, named Claudette’s after her mother and daughter, opened just three months ago, in March. It features a mix of new and gently used clothing, shoes, and accessories for women and men, and also has a small Juniors’ section. The merchandise is sanitized and carefully organized and arranged in the sales area. Cindy credits her store manager, Michelle Cormier, for the artful displays. Michelle is available for a free hour of personal shopping in the morning before the store opens to the general public. Those interested will have the entire store to themselves, with Michelle’s help in mixing and matching outfits and accessories. The boutique is now booking these appointments from 10:00 to 11:00 am, Thursday through Sunday. Call the boutique at 860-847-1113 to schedule an appointment.
Cindy also relies on her assistant store manager, Kristen Vinect, to keep things running smoothly. Kristen helps with the intake of merchandise, paperwork, and cashier duties, among other tasks.
Cindy has owned and operated her restaurant in the mall for three years, and of course struggled during the COVID shutdown and restrictions. She is thrilled that the adjacent movie theater is once again open, because it led to an immediate increase in her business. By also bringing her boutique to the mall, she is hoping to start a trend of bringing more traffic to the mall, which, along with similar establishments, has had its share of hard times. She says that the mall can be a good location, but only if the community comes out in support of her endeavors. She also hopes that the mall’s new owners will soon allow her to expand her evening hours, since she is currently losing dinner time business.
The North Central Connecticut Chamber of Commerce, whose office is also located in the mall, heartily welcomed Cindy’s new store. At the boutique’s opening ceremony, its Director of Operations, Karen Campbell, said, “this is exciting! We are working on making more of this happen.” The Chamber’s President, Peter DiMaria, added, “Claudette’s Boutique is a welcomed neighbor to the North Central Connecticut Chamber of Commerce Office at the Enfield Square Mall. We have seen the traffic increase as the awareness grows of the Chamber’s presence in the mall, and with Claudette’s boutique, new and gently used clothing make for a nice shopping option.”
As for the restaurant, Cindy’s Food for the Soul, she says, “the restaurant is my baby…it has blossomed. My staff and my family have been an important support system. It’s been wonderful meeting different people and having good old fashioned conversations, and making them feel at home. I want my business to be a safe haven…” Her partner, Ralph Shout, is the restaurant’s manager and cook, with an outgoing personality in contrast to Cindy’s quiet demeanor. Friend Pam Stewart also cooks, and Dechon Harris is a driving force assisting with many aspects of both businesses.
The cozy restaurant serves items such as curry and jerk chicken, pork chops, fried fish, red beans and sausage, collard greens, and baked macaroni and cheese, as well as wings, burgers, sandwiches, and a variety of side dishes and desserts. “Our fried chicken and meatloaf are popular,” Cindy says, “and now we have added ribs, which are flying out the door.”
For those interested in bringing in items for consignment, the shop is currently accepting men’s and women’s summer clothing in very good condition. You will sign a contract, and receive an itemized list of accepted items with the retail price listed. You will receive 40% of the selling price, and checks are mailed out by the 15th of the month following your drop-off date. Items not sold or reclaimed by you as per the contract will be donated to a local charity. Cindy has made arrangements with local nursing homes and the town’s warming center to be the recipients of these items. As a former nursing aide, Cindy has witnessed how some families drop off their relative “and never look back.” These people seldom have anyone to shop for them, or make sure they have decent clothes to wear. Therefore, she wants to help fill that need when she can.
She says of both her businesses, “growth and expansion is something we hope to do. I have lots of ideas and plans!”
Boutique hours are currently Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 11:00 am to 6:00 pm; Friday and Saturday from 11:00 am to 7:00 pm; and Sunday from 11:00 am to 5:00 pm. Claudettesboutiqueinfo@gmail.com
Claudette’s Boutique and Cindy’s Food for the Soul are located in Enfield Square Mall, 90 Elm Street, Enfield, CT 860-847-1113
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