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Sparks boutique is abuzz with fashion and business
by Jessica Garcia
Jun 11, 2009 | 2396 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
<a href=>Tribune/Debra Reid</a> - Misty Lacey, owner of the Queen Beez Boutique, wears a dress by S Line Clothing, necklace by local jeweler Stacey Williams and holds a handbag by local artisan Kathy Brown. Lacey and Brown both attended Reed High School.
Tribune/Debra Reid - Misty Lacey, owner of the Queen Beez Boutique, wears a dress by S Line Clothing, necklace by local jeweler Stacey Williams and holds a handbag by local artisan Kathy Brown. Lacey and Brown both attended Reed High School.
Don’t mess with the Queen Bee. She can really sting – especially when it comes to high prices for trendy fashion items.

Sisters Misty Lacey and Stacy Williams want their new Sparks boutique, Queen Beez, to convey that concept, especially now that they are getting ready to relocate and expand within the tall, grey tower on the corner of Pyramid Way and Oddie Boulevard just a few months after opening.

“It was reasonable and we wanted to start it and get it growing and now we’re expanding in the same building,” said Williams, though she added that “it’s not an ideal location by any means.”

Queen Beez opened in February on the fourth floor above Sparks Florist in a small room that’s not much to walk around for shopping. As Lacey and Williams were mulling over the building that also houses several beauty salons on the southwest corner of Pyramid Way and Oddie Boulevard, the property manager offered Lacey and Williams the 750-square-foot space.

Both decided it would take at least a year to become successful enough for that larger room, so they sacrificed walk-in traffic from the streets to get the store up and running.

But they didn’t foresee the popularity among customers and will now have a second grand opening in the new space on June 23, largely due to the idea of quality fashion for lower prices in Sparks.

“The whole concept behind the store was to offer all the fun, on-trend, quality boutique items without the 500 percent mark-up,” Lacey said. “We wanted it to be a place where any woman could shop and not feel guilty about treating themselves to something or a few things, for that matter. So our tagline became, ‘The Queen Beez takes the sting out of high prices.’ It’s kind of a corny play on words, but we like it.”

Both women have a passion for clothing and jewelry, with colorful dresses, earrings, necklaces and small home items lining their shelves and hanging on the walls. Their shirts and dresses are ordered from American vendors, but they turn to local designers for jewelry. Lacey also sells direct from Silpada, a company that allows for party planing.

Jewelry ranges from $8 to $40 and clothing can range from $8 camis to $54 dresses. Handbags are $20 to $70 for some of the genuine leather products. Lacey stays afloat with some of the trendiest items, such as flip-flops that recently were voted the third hottest “must-have” accessory for the summer.

They also collaborate with a friend, Kathy Brown, who makes multi-purpose cloth bags by hand. She calls her line “Brown Bags.”

Their focus is to carry items that can’t be found elsewhere in town. The store may not be easily accessible – or visible – to Pyramid Way travelers, but they’ve already picked up momentum by word of mouth and enticing women by purposefully limiting orders to just a handful of any one particular item.

A friend of the sisters, Suzi Lunt, carries a one-of-a-kind white handbag, which Lacey said she’s proud of and receives many compliments on because no one else in the city has one like it, which is propelling their success.

“We feel really lucky that these people have gone out because they’re the ones who’ve really helped expand our business,” Lacey said.

Among the store’s items are a few decorative bee items that represent the sisters’ vision of their shop, which came out of a joke among Williams’ in-laws.

“My sister has five brothers-in-law and they love to go visit her in San Diego,” Lacey said. “And she doesn’t pull any punches or play their games. She lays down the law on how they’re going to act at their house because they’re all younger. So one day they started calling her the queen bee and that just kind of stuck.”

Lacey runs the shop on a daily basis while Williams works out of San Diego, coming up to Sparks as she is able. Williams will soon benefit more from the business with a room in the new space designated for her design showroom, where she will hold consultations for her San Diego business.

“It’s still in the works,” Williams said. “We’re working on the process of ... (being) able to offer interior design services. I’d meet with them by phone conversation to make it worthwhile for them and for me ... and I love owning my own business. We have awesome people here and they’re fun to work with.”

Williams said she is Sparks-born and raised and graduated from the University of Nevada, Reno before moving to San Diego in 2003. She makes the trip to Sparks every month or every other month to visit with Lacey and Queen Beez.

“(Here) people can sit down and look at a portfolio with her and look at different samples of fabrics or cabinets, but this (current) space doesn’t allot for that,” Lacey said.

The larger space, now being renovated and painted by Lacey’s husband, Chris, and Lunt’s husband, Ron, is often called the “beehive” with the flurry of activity going on to make it ready for their second grand opening. The Lunts, who own CR Woodworks in Reno, are helping Lacey with her cabinetry needs for the new space.

In addition to word of mouth, Queen Beez also has displayed its items at the recent Western Heritage Festival and the Be Wine Valentine event with the Builder’s Association of Northern Nevada. Lacey is also considering participating in the upcoming Hot August Nights and the Best in the West Rib Cook-Off.

But the core of the business is remaining up-to-date on what’s hot and what’s not, Lacey said.

“New York has always tended to be the trendsetter, then it eventually ends up on the West Coast and we try to follow that and pay attention,” Lacey said. “We hope we’re choosing the right items that people will enjoy and be drawn to. We have a lot of fun picking it out, that’s for sure, and wearing it.”

Queen Beez is located on the fourth floor at 1001 Pyramid Way in Sparks and is open Tuesday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. with the possibility of expanding weekday hours.

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