Highland Park resident Migdalia Quesada, owner of the Pura Vida Boutique – the newest clothing store to hit Main Street Highland Park – has one focus in operating her retail business: to be sure her customers are always comfortable in the clothes they purchase at her store. Reflecting her Costa Rican roots, Migdalia said she was inspired to name her store after the phrase that encapsulates the culture of Costa Rica.
“Pura vida means pure life and it comes from my country Costa Rica,” said Migdalia, who moved to the United States with her family at a very young age. “Whenever anyone asks how your day is or how you’re doing you tend to always respond pura vida! I thought it was the perfect slogan for my store with having everyone feel welcome and happy when they come into the store and wear the items they purchase.”
Choosing to open a retail store was an easy choice said Migdalia, who has lived in the Highland Park community the last 21 years. “I always saw myself running my own business and working hard to grow personally and professionally in my career.” Commenting on why she chose Highland Park as the location for the store, she added, “I have lived here almost all my life and I love the town. I feel comfortable in this town and thought why not keep my business in a place where I know I will be surrounded by such a supporting community.”
Having considered several ideas for the store, opening a women’s clothing boutique seemed to have been a no-brainer. “I realized Highland Park never had a young women’s store to cater to the town’s female residents,” she noted. “I also received feedback from Rutgers University students who lived in town, as well as Highland Park’s high school students, which made my decision easier knowing I wasn’t the only one who wished there was a clothing store in town.”
Currently sourcing her clothing from online wholesalers based out of California and New York City, Migdalia said she hopes to expand her supplier network. “I hope to travel to different locations in the near future to find wholesalers who might not have an online presence but might have brick and mortar locations.” Wanting to keep her merchandise exclusive, yet varied in terms of choice, she said, “at Pura Vida Boutique I carry a little bit of every style because everyone should feel welcome in my store and that they can find something to suit their own individual style.
“The clients I was initially targeting were women between the ages of 13 to 30, but the thing about clothing is that it’s not specific to an age. I believe that if you feel comfortable and look great in a top, skirt or dress you should wear it regardless of your age! I have already had girls, and women of all ages come in the store and find a piece they liked, whether it was for going out or going to the gym. I also love getting feedback from the community to improve the store, and because of the feedback I received, the store also offers plus size clothing going up to 3X.”
Pleased with the overall reception she has received thus far from both customers and Main Street Highland Park alike, Migdalia stated, “Everyone has been so welcoming and the community is just so lovely….I have already witnessed so many people coming in and wishing me luck since the day I opened. I believe I have met everyone if not most people from Main Street Highland Park and their enthusiasm to get me involved in community activities has been awesome.”
Since opening her store, Migdalia noted that one of the common questions she gets asked by customers is what can they do to help her business prosper. Her answer to them is simple – “Spread the word about the store and your positive experiences so that more people would want to stop by.”
So what is Migdalia’s aspiration for her store? “I want Pura Vida Boutique to prosper and grow for both myself and the town, so that Raritan Avenue would continue to attract people from other communities, enabling them to enjoy our Main Street just like we do” – or in other words, spread pure life.