This article originally appeared in The Union newspaper, Monday, July 11, 2011.
About Maiden Lane
Maiden Lane store owner Bo Wolfson stood behind her glass case counter filled with Crislu jewelry and Majorica man-made pearl earrings and necklaces.
While surrounded by an array of accessories — turquoise, green and orange glossy stone bracelets, displays of dangling earrings for every occasion, a glass bowl filled with sweet nothings (chocolate, of course) — Wolfson spoke with a gleam in her eye. As she gazed across her eloquent, classically decorated shop filled with women’s clothing, accessories and knick-knacks, she smiled, but it wasn’t the beauty of her shop that made her glow.
Wolfson’s love of serving customers and meeting new people helps keep her business shining during poor economic times. “The current economy is challenging for a retail operation in a small area,” Wolfson said. “You just have to try and work with people, find useful things to sell and find things that look good.“It’s important to consider quality, prices and style. People still like to shop. Customer service is what keeps customers coming back.”
Wolfson carried her love of customer service and retail experience with her when she and her husband decided to leave San Francisco and enjoy small-town living in Nevada County. After surviving the Loma Prieta earthquake in 1989 in San Francisco, Wolfson and her husband Stuart visited the Downey House Bed and Breakfast in Nevada City where Wolfson had met an old boss who encouraged her to open an accessory store in Nevada City.
Intrigued by the idea, Wolfson and her husband moved to Grass Valley in 1989 and opened Maiden Lane in May 1990. Before opening the store, Wolfson was a fine jewelry and watch buyer for I. Magnin & Company, a high-fashion and luxury goods department store in San Francisco.
Maiden Lane was first located on Commercial Street in Nevada City, where the Nevada City Postal Company is now located. Wolfson decided to move Maiden Lane to Broad Street in 1993 to expand the store.
Now, Maiden Lane has served Nevada County for 23 years, with Wolfson attributing the store’s success to quality products and customer service.“We decided to do a classic store with quality goods that would carry over from season to season, year to year,” Wolfson said. “We fluff up the store with accessories.”
Wolfson enjoys serving customers, whether it’s helping them find unique gifts or dressing them for weddings, interviews or parties.
Maiden Lane is a stylish, elegant store that not only offers women’s clothing and jewelry, but also offers sunglasses, belts, hand-embroidered pillows, handbags, Tea Forte tea, assortments of candy, cookbooks, ceramics, cast-iron teapots and an array of Brighton handbags and accessories. “There’s a little bit of something for everybody,” Wolfson said. Maiden Lane offers special orders for products not in store to cater to customers and offer more variety.
“We like to cater to locals, tourists are just icing on the cake,” Wolfson said. “The whole point is to keep business in Nevada County.”