117 W. Hancock St., Milledgeville
Facebook: Firefly Boutique
Tik Tok: @shopfirefly
Hours: Tuesday-Friday 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday noon to 4 p.m.
Downtown Milledgeville has developed a reputation in the last several years as a popular spot for dining, nightlife and shopping. Amber Patitucci knew she wanted to get in on the downtown scene.
The owner of Chatter Boutique on North Columbia Street since 2012, Patitucci decided in 2017 to open a second store, Firefly Boutique, in the heart of downtown Milledgeville.
“I kept hearing how downtown is just a fun area and I felt like I was missing a good bit of the market that didn’t know about us, so we decided to open Firefly and just kind of target it to a different market,” said Patitucci.
While Firefly carries a variety of clothing options, Patitucci decided to use the store’s location to focus on the college demographic.
“Seeing that we’re a block from the college, we wanted to focus more on college-aged girls, but we also have a decent mix as well,” said Patitucci.
With that target audience in mind, Patitucci stocks pieces that appeal to both a college student’s sense of style and budget.
“We do try to keep our prices as low as we possibly can for the product that they’re getting,” explained Patitucci.
Firefly Boutique stocks clothing items from popular lines such as Free People as well as items from smaller boutique lines that cater to the “fast fashion” concept. Fast fashion lines seek to replicate runway styles quickly after they come out at a lower cost than the designer lines.
Other popular items at Firefly include handbags and costume jewelry items. Most recently, Firefly began carrying hand-painted earrings from Studio S Designs in Milledgeville.
One aspect of the boutique Patitucci said is a trademark of Firefly is the store’s focus on shoes. When opening Firefly, Patitucci felt that the options for shoe shopping in Milledgeville were quite limited, so she decided to address it by carrying an array of footwear in her downtown store. Firefly offers casual styles along with a small selection of dressy footwear.
“We do carry a various mix, with some that are full leather, so those obviously are going to be higher price points. But we do carry a good mix of shoes as far as the brands go and the mix of materials,” said Patitucci.
Those interested in taking advantage of sales and promotions at the store can find the latest deals on the store’s social media platforms. Firefly Boutique also offers a loyalty program to its customers. To enroll, text the word ‘Firefly’ to 578277. This automatically enrolls the customer to receive text messages about special sales, coupons and discounts. Loyalty members can also earn points with every purchase in the store. When a customer accumulates 400 points, they receive $15 off their next purchase.
During the earlier stages of the COVID-19 pandemic when Firefly was forced to close, Patitucci made accommodations to continue serving her customers. Curbside pickup and free delivery to local Milledgeville addresses are services Firefly began during the closure and continue to offer for those who still prefer not to shop in person. Additionally, Patitucci lowered the minimum purchase on the store’s website to qualify for free shipping from $75 to $35. Store associates continue to ensure safety by wearing masks around customers and cleaning high-touch surfaces regularly.
When asked what sets her downtown boutique apart from others, Patitucci shared a few thoughts.
“Our customer service, number one, but I also believe that our shoe collection is unlike anyone else in town,” said Patitucci. “We try to focus on unique pieces that we do not believe other places are going to carry.”
Firefly Boutique is open Tuesday through Friday from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 4 p.m. Hours will likely be expanded when college students return to Milledgeville next month.