It may not feel like an ordinary summer on Long Island, but if you step inside Reign boutique in Long Beach or Merrick, you might not notice. Summer party dresses are still as popular as ever, says owner Wendy Lombardo, even if customers don't have many places to go.
"They've been cooped up for so long that everyone is really excited to get out and see friends safely," says Lombardo, 42, of Massapequa. "Even if it's just going to someone's house, I find people still want to feel dressed up since they were living in sweats."
Lombardo says while business slowed down during the height of the pandemic, she's back to seeing more of those fun summer trends (flowy dresses, rompers, tie-dye patterns and florals) that pique interest. "This is going out now," she says. "And if this is going out, then I'm going to be as cute as I want to be!"
Reign opened in Merrick 11 years ago and in Long Beach eight years later. "It was kind of missing in the neighborhood," Lombardo says of Merrick. "There were definitely boutiques in the area when I opened, but it ranged from a kiddie boutique to adult women which was way more expensive … 99% of the things in the store fall below $100." Merchandise leans casual, with jeans, earth-tone loungewear, graphic tees and accessories.
Moving to Long Beach, Reign took on a slightly more "beachy vibe," adding town-branded merch, reusable totes and swimwear to its offerings. "I go with my gut and what the trends are, but I tweak it to what I see the customers' style is. Anyone who's a Long Beach person is just really passionate about it."
The general rule at Reign is to find fashion that "speaks" to you and your passions. The shop's employees are trained in personal styling to help create more of a tailored experience, Lombardo says. "We're not just trying to push a bunch of merchandise on somebody. We're trying to get them to leave really excited about the outfit they have. If you look good, you feel good. It's an old saying but it's just so true. When you're put together, you just feel good."
Shortly before the pandemic temporarily shuttered her businesses, Lombardo began moving Reign's offerings online. Website shopping is now available, but within the next three months, she expects the site to be fully functioning with a larger catalog.
Reign is located in Merrick at 2009 Merrick Rd., and in Long Beach at 872 W. Beech St. Shop in-store or online at reignboutique.com.