Best of Edmond
The Perfect Fit
by Rachel Dattolo
Brooke Larie Wood combined her daughter’s middle name with her own to create Larie Marie, an Edmond clothing store she hopes will continue to connect mothers and daughters as they come inside to shop.
“I want mothers and daughters to come shopping together, and both be able to find something they like,” she says.
Located at the corner of 33rd and Broadway, Larie Marie is a women’s clothing boutique that carries casual and dressy clothes, jewelry, scarves and handbags, and a lot of denim jeans.
“I know how hard it is to find the right pair of jeans,” says Wood, who specializes in denim, with a wide selection of jeans in all styles and sizes. “A good pair of jeans makes the outfit. I want everyone to be able to walk in and find a good quality pair of jeans that will last for years.”
You will find a wide variety of famous designer jeans and unique name brands as well. Larie Marie offers “MEK” and “7 for All Mankind” jeans. She also recently added “Rock & Republic” and “Citizens of Humanity” brands to the store’s denim collection.
Among other casual clothing, the store also features dresses perfect for attending weddings or church. For special occasions, Wood offers “Max & Cleo” dresses and for cool nights, “Nick & Mo” coats will warm you up in style.
Designed to offer everyday clothes to everyday people, the boutique strives to have something for all ages. The store adds new inventory two or three times a week so that every time someone walks in, they will find something different, explains Wood.
Wood opened the store in 2008 and continues to hand-select all her merchandise, which she gets from big-city markets, as well as from homemade, one-man operations around the country. She also constantly seeks customer feedback to help her decide what to bring to the store next. “My job is like shopping every day,” she laughs. “What girl wouldn’t like that?”
“The biggest challenge is trying to figure out what your customer is going to like and how much of it you need to buy,” says Wood, who worked in retail for years and once managed a high-volume store for a major company.
Owning her own store is a dream come true. “I love being able to spend more time with my family, and more time with my customers,” she says. Wood hopes to open up another location and one day pass the stores on to her daughters.
A Magic Carpet Ride
Tony Kauk is proud to say he’s doing what he loves. As the owner of Factory Direct Carpet in Edmond since 1992, he says, “I love being able to help people make decisions.”
Kauk has always been terrific in sales, but he began to realize he would have to sell twice as much merchandise as a salesman to match the earnings he could make as a business owner. With three children at home, he knew he had to make a change.
The dream began to form with a simple trip to a carpet store. While Kauk was shopping for flooring for his home, he realized how difficult it was to purchase quality carpet at a reasonable price, so he decided to start selling it himself.
Kauk is proud that Factory Direct Carpet helps its customers all the way from the selection process through final installation. “We know we’re working on a very valuable part of your home, and we make sure you have the best experience possible,” he said.
Grateful to have terrific employees who help him maintain his professional image, Kauk says, “I always get comments on how professional my installers are. They always pick up after themselves and behave in a very professional manner. They’re not your typical carpet installers,” he says. “Our customer service is what sets us apart from the rest. We go the extra mile for our customers.”
Being in business for yourself has its good days and its bad days. Kauk knows this fact all too well, but reflects on a story that truly shows the balance of life as a business owner. “A while back I heard about a woman whose contractor had taken her deposit and ran. She desperately needed carpet, so I decided to donate the carpet she needed,” he said. “Around that same time I had some horrible green carpet that I couldn’t get rid of. It sat in my warehouse for two years and I kept marking it down, but it wouldn’t sell.”
But as luck would have it, on the same day Kauk opened his heart and donated the carpet to the woman in need, a couple walked in and purchased the green carpet, right there on the spot, at full asking price. “They loved it! And I was able to recoup the loss I incurred from my carpet donation,” he said.
It’s just those kind of stories that remind Kauk how much he enjoys being a local business owner. One of the hardest things, he says, is choosing the right advertising to use. “I’ve wasted hundreds and hundreds of dollars on advertisements that didn’t bring in any business,” said Kauk. “With Edmond Outlook, people are always coming in and saying that they saw my ad in the magazine.”
From a salesman’s journey, to becoming a successful business owner over the last 17 years, Kauk is sure to continue to please customers with quality carpet and professional customer service for many years to come. For more information about Factory Direct Carpet, please call 495-1888 or visit www.fdcflooring.com.