ON OUR RADAR
Faces, places, treasures, and trends that caught our attention
ALISA LA LIBERTE PHOTOGRAPHED BY CONSTANCE SCHIANO

Summer Brings Liberty Lemonade

There’s a new place to shop in Washington Depot that offers cool, casual, and deliciously fresh clothing and shoes. Meet the owner Alisa La Liberte, as she opens up for business.

Situated between the Hickory Stick Book Shop and Huntington & Hope is the latest business to open in the Depot, Liberty Lemonade. Just like the store’s name, the new digs are fresh and inviting. Lemony-yellow accent pillows in the shape of lemon slices, cream-colored wood flooring, yellow walls, a bright yellow tufted ottoman, all in a spare, stylish, and welcoming space. And of course, fresh lemonade and cookies. The sign on the wall behind the counter explains the citrusy theme: When life gives you lemons, go make lemonade… then go shopping.

CONSTANCE SCHIANO

CONSTANCE SCHIANO

Born and raised in Massachusetts, Alisa La Liberte spent two decades on the west coast, primarily in San Francisco and Silicon Valley. “I decided to return to New England after a divorce. My son wanted to attend a junior prep school with a hockey program. A whirlwind tour of New England junior preps in 2013 landed us at Rumsey Hall School. This was my son’s top choice.”

CONSTANCE SCHIANO

CONSTANCE SCHIANO

A newcomer to retail, Alisa actually has an MS in nursing and at one point was a cardiovascular clinical nurse specialist. In 2004, she become a full-time mom, ardent volunteer and fundraising guru. She helped raise over a million dollars for various non-profits and schools. “I believe there is some cross-over from auction events to retail in the nuances of marketing and selling.” After a ten-year gap in nursing it was really hard to contemplate going back. Alisa decided to try something new. “I desired the American Dream: owning my own business. I arrived in Washington Depot knowing that I would start my own business.” She assessed the community’s needs, learned that good shoe shopping is nearly an hour a way, and decided on a shoe store. “I believe you need to try on shoes before purchasing, and the same goes for clothes. I find online shopping frustrating, and I was banking on enough people living in that camp with me. Music to my ears came from a mom just last week who said, ‘I am so tired of having to order everything online.’ ”

CONSTANCE SCHIANO

CONSTANCE SCHIANO

Her idea for a family shoe store soon expanded to clothing and accessories. As she discussed the idea with locals, most would add, “Shoes are much in need, but please do clothing—especially for kids.” The merchandise is an eclectic mix reflective of her own personal style—east meets west, if you will. At this point, she is still getting to know the clients wants and desires, while trying to balance the practical side of owning a small store. “I need to limit the number of vendors I interact with (for my own sanity) and be careful not to over-buy. For example,  I have had requests for Vans and Converse, which along with Keds fall into the casual, non-athletic sneaker. I carry Keds, which is making a great comeback with Taylor Swift as its fresh young face.”

CONSTANCE SCHIANO

CONSTANCE SCHIANO

So, who are Liberty Lemonade’s customers? “I see the entire community as my customer—locals, weekenders, families, teenagers, prep school students—young and old. I really hope to eventually have a little bit of something for everyone. We keep emphasizing that we are only 60% stocked, with new arrivals weekly, and this is true.” Alisa just placed her first order for kids’ clothes and she went more preppy than anything else. She believes this makes sense given the number of prep schools in the area, as well as golfers and weekenders with kids who may attend private schools in the city. “I would love to become the go-to place for back-to-school clothes and shoes. I have an idea brewing for blue blazers that I may reveal this summer if all the pieces fall in place. I am really cognizant of the need in the community for different price points and I diligently aim to have at least three with most products.”

CONSTANCE SCHIANO

CONSTANCE SCHIANO

Already thinking ahead, Alisa says there is the possibility that she will outgrow the space that she is currently in. “If I am successful with kids’ clothing and especially in dressing the prep school student, I will likely open a second shop for kids clothing, and keep Liberty Lemonade as adult shoes and clothing.”

If the reception from the community is any indication for the new shop’s success, there is reason to be optimistic about Liberty Lemonade’s future. Alisa was touched by the cards of congratulations and delivery of flowers from her neighbors. “I can’t imagine that I would have been received with such open arms anywhere else on the face of the planet. The response I have received is reflective of this community’s support of local businesses, as well as hitting the nail on the head in bringing merchandise the community needs—shoes!”

Speaking of shoes, some of the collections that the shop carries are: AquaItalia, Wolky, Anyi Lu, Michael Toschi, Keds, and Sperry. And in terms of clothing, so far: Trina Turk, MiH jeans, DL 1961, and Christopher Blue. Alisa has new brands coming in weekly and is still adding more, so keep checking in—and have some lemonade.

Liberty Lemonade
2 Green Hill Road
Washington Depot
860.619.0590
www.libertylemonade.com
Mon-Sat 10-5:30 and Sun 11-4