Like TJ Maxx? Try Style For Less: North Anthony's new budget-friendly fashion business

The North Anthony Corridor has a little more style, thanks to a new up-and-coming retail store.

Style For Less has moved into a previously vacant building at 3319 N. Anthony Blvd. The owner, Liz Haynie, has high hopes for its future as a destination for fashionable clothes at an affordable price. 

That’s the idea behind Style For Less in a nutshell: new name-brand clothing, shoes, and accessories for men, women, and children—all at a third of the cost you’d find elsewhere. 

It's called off-price retail, and the concept is not original per se. (Stores like TJ Maxx have been doing it for years.) Now, as a local retailer, Style For Less is getting in on the game, offering men's and women's shirts for a flat rate of $5.99 or jeans for $9,99, among other items listed on its price wall.

Style For Less sells items for the flat rates listed on its wall.

Haynie says her business savvy and connections are part of what helped her get going with the concept locally. She studied entrepreneurship in college, and upon returning to Fort Wayne, she found she had an itch that couldn’t be satisfied at just any company or job. So she decided to pursue her own venture with the encouragement of her step-father who is in the wholesale business (also known as reverse logistics). 

“He was like, you know, ‘I think this would be really, really good, and you're the perfect person for it, and if you don't take me up on this offer, it's going to happen regardless."

Liz Haynie

With that, Haynie decided to go for it and set out to find the ideal location for her store, which proved to be right in her backyard, both literally and figuratively.

In Fort Wayne's 46805 zip code, Style for Less is now in the same neighborhood, as local favorites like Old Crown Coffee Roasters, Sweets So Geek, and Baan Thai Restaurant.

“I live a mile down the street, and I love the ‘05, so it’s a perfect fit,” Haynie says, adding that her store, which opened in January, has been many months in the making. Style For Less carries clothes from an ever-changing variety of brands.

She started planning for the business back in May 2018 and moved into the space in October, doing small renovation projects to it since then. Fast forward to today, and her shop is already a popular destination for consumers who want to shop local on a budget. 

Haynie says the selection of items she carries is constantly changing, depending on what's in overstock at the time.

“We have a little bit of BCBGMAXAZRIA. We have Carson's (brands)," she says. "I mean, who's to say we won't get (a brand) like Nike next week."

She explains that the items she sells might be in overstock for many reasons. Sometimes it's a matter of retailers over-buying. Other times, it’s minor quality control issues or canceled orders.

Regardless of the scenario, she explains that big box stores are quick to liquidate their inventory, meaning “they pack it all up, and they get it out of there as fast as they can.”

From there, products can get into the hands of consumers via stores like hers, and as more consumers are looking for deals to stretch their dollars, these types of stores are on the rise. 

Across the country, off-price retailers are quickly outpacing traditional department stores, who are getting squeezed out of the marketStyle For Less markets to men, as well as women.

As trends turnover faster and consumers shop online more often, department stores with older retail models are struggling to keep up, losing $25 billion in sales since 2011 and on pace to lose another $22 billion over the next five years

Meanwhile, off-price retailers are projected to reach $18 billion to $19 billion of incremental sales by 2021, according to a note from JPMorgan analysts.

While Style For Less has only been open a few months, Haynie says they have already found their sweet spot in the local market. 

“Our target market is the mom who shops for herself, her husband, and her two kids or a kid on the way,” she says.

However, women aren’t the exclusive buyer persona, and that's something else that sets Style For Less apart in Fort Wayne's boutique clothing scene.

Haynie says men seem to find her store attractive, too. 

“Guys typically don't like to shop, so (our) more laid-back atmosphere (makes the shopping experience) more welcoming and inviting,” she explains.

With a combination of charm, selection, and prices to keep people coming back for more, Haynie is confident in her model and already plans to open a second location in Fort Wayne in the future.

She’s also looking at the possibility of franchising.

“I think long term, we’ll place Style For Less in different states and big cities,” she says.

Follow Style For Less on Facebook and Instagram @styleforlessfw.

Read more articles by Lauren Caggiano.

Lauren Caggiano is a Fort Wayne-based writer. A 2007 graduate of the University of Dayton, she returned to Northeast Indiana to pursue a career. In the past 12 years she has worked in journalism, public relations, marketing, and digital media. She currently writes for several local, regional, and national publications.
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