Angela Swartz/Daily Journal
Frankie Meyer shows off a dress in her Lorton Avenue store Meyer-Bunje, which has been in the city for 25 years.
With more and more chain stores moving into downtown Burlingame, one local independent shop has stayed put on Lorton Avenue for almost three decades.
The women’s clothing store Meyer-Bunje off of Burlingame Avenue recently celebrated its 25th anniversary in the city. Its owner Frankie Meyer first opened the store on March 1, 1989 with her friend Sarah Bunje, who retired 10 years ago. Hard work and persistence have been what’s kept business coming, Meyer said. Being part of business community organizations like the Business Improvement District has also helped.
“This section of town was very undeveloped at that point,” said Meyer, who lives on the coast and has five grandchildren. “I know what’s going on in the community and fashion. You have to be aware of what you’re doing. It is tough with a lot of big box stores.”
Much of the clothing at the store in the early days was created by Meyer herself who was an art teacher before opening her own business. She started designing and creating clothing in San Mateo first, painting on fabric at times. Now, most of the clothing comes from other artists and brands like Lee Anderson, Ellen Hopley and FDJ Jeans unless she is sparked with inspiration. Her style of eclectic, art-like clothing wasn’t so mainstream when she first opened the shop, but now has caught on more.
“I’m trying to keep an art-inspired theme,” she said. “The first person who walked into the store said ‘who’s going to buy this?’”
Since the quality of the clothing is so high, sometimes she finds customers don’t need to buy new things since the clothing doesn’t wear out. Colored scarves, wool garments, jewelry, dress, silk materials and other items of varying price ranges grace the garment store.
Meanwhile, she’s had some of the same customers since day one of opening, she said.
“It’s fun interacting with people,” she said. “We decided never to really expand.”
Meyer and Bunje even interacted quite a bit with children to explain how to run a business.
“A lot of schools came to see what we were doing as entrepreneurs,” Meyer said. “I’d tell them to seek out things you love, present it to the public and see what the reaction is.”
Meyer didn’t expect to have the store opened for 25 years.
“I didn’t know what to expect,” she said. “You take it one day at a time and it progresses. The customers are like friends.”
New goods come into the store every day, Meyer said.
“The things I have chosen are of quality, have character and are something a little different than the big box stores will have,” she said. “They’re not cookie cutter.”
The store is located at 308 Lorton Ave. in Burlingame and is open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Saturday.
(650) 344-5200 ext. 105