Love All Tennis had a brush with the big leagues last week when tennis star Venus Williams made an appearance at the specialty store in Stone Creek Village.
Williams was in Cary on April 13 to promote her clothing line, EleVen by Venus, and to meet customers. Julie Larrichio, who co-owns Love All Tennis with Janette Cunningham, said Williams’ line has grown to be a customer favorite since the store opened in 2012.
“We have carried her line since the beginning,” Larrichio said. “The fabrics are comfortable, the designs are beautiful and it fits all shapes and sizes and any age. The skirts come in two different lengths, which has been popular.
“Until we opened, nobody around here knew much about it so we have been able to provide some brand awareness for her.”
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A solid relationship with Williams’ company led to the scheduling of the personal appearance.
“She saw the amount of business we do with her company,” Larrichio said. “It was amazing. She was not playing in a tournament around here. That says a lot about her. She wants to help her customers. She flew up from Miami for the day to little Love All Tennis in Cary, North Carolina.”
Love All Tennis is located just over a mile from the Cary Tennis Park.
“Cary is a huge tennis community, which is why we decided to open,” she said. “We are the only independently owned tennis store in Cary.”
The shop specializes in apparel, tennis shoes, gifts and racquets.
“We are more of a boutique,” Larrichio said. “We carry men’s and kids’ clothing, but we are geared more towards women.”
The store handed out 200 VIP tickets for the 90-minute event to customers who purchased an item from Williams’ clothing line.
“People were coming from all over,” Larrichio said. “They came in and bought and didn’t care if it fit or not. Nobody batted an eye.”
Williams and her assistant arrived at the store by taxi. Although customers were told that there would only be time for photographs, Williams did not turn away autograph requests and was quick to return a hug.
Larrichio and Cunningham, both of whom play on local tennis leagues, drove Williams back to the airport after the store event.
“She is like having your best friend there with you,” Larrichio said. “She’s not like a star.”
The appearance is expected to boost sales for Love All Tennis. The EleVen by Venus line already has been popular for team uniforms, Larrichio said.
“I definitely think it’s going to grow in popularity because of this event,” she said.
And it will help their store grow, too. The shop’s biggest competitors are online retailers, Larrichio said.
“We felt like this event showed people the benefits of shopping local,” she said. “When you shop local and support local businesses, those businesses can bring people in like this. Without local support, we could not have done this.”
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