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10 Questions for Cambric of Los Gatos Owner Jennifer McRay

Store will change name to Kismet Boutique in February of 2013.

10 Questions for Cambric of Los Gatos Owner Jennifer McRay 10 Questions for Cambric of Los Gatos Owner Jennifer McRay 10 Questions for Cambric of Los Gatos Owner Jennifer McRay

10 No. Santa Cruz Ave., opened in 1994. Jennifer McRay was born and raised in Los Gatos and has owned the store for more than 10 years. Cambric carries classic, stylish women's clothing and accessories, including Three Dots, Karen Kane, Nic + Zoe, NYDJ and Brighton. Its staff is very friendly and knowledgable and love to help women feel their best. The business' hours of operation are 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Sunday.   

Los Gatos Patch: What did you dream of being as a kid?

Jennifer McRay: I actually wanted to be a veterinarian my entire life. I went to UC Davis to pursue that dream, and ended up studying environmental biology and management and French. After graduating, it was a difficult year to get a job in that field so I ended up helping out in a few women's retail shops in downtown Los Gatos. After a few stints working customer service in the hi-tech field, my heart always brought me back to retail. 

Patch: How does your personality play into your business?

McRay: I have always been very driven, outgoing and creative. I make jewelry, which I sell at my store, along with some other stores outside the area. I really enjoy meeting new people and hearing their "stories." Lucky for me, I get to do that every day.  

Patch: At what moment did you decide to open a business?

McRay: I had thought about opening my own retail store for a while and in 2001 I was given the opportunity to buy Cambric from a friend. It was a risky decision, given the economic climate, but 10 1/2 years later, I have never regretted it.

Patch: What inspired you?

McRay: Strong women have always inspired me. I have always looked up to my mom for her strength and her fashion sense. Growing up, my grandmother, my mom and I always enjoyed shopping together at unique shops, in small towns. I remember shopping at Chrislow's and Adrienne's in town to find the perfect outfit for my "free dress" days at school. While working at the different women's boutiques in town, I witnessed first-hand how a woman could balance family, work, friends and everything else life throws at you.    

Patch: Describe the biggest challenge of owning a business in the Town
of Los Gatos?

McRay: The biggest challenge is keeping the small-town feel. I think the downtown area has a nice variety of independents and chain stores right now, but it's hard to keep the mom and pops in town with the high rents.

Patch: Describe the best thing about owning a business in the town of Los Gatos?

McRay: The best thing about owning a business in Los Gatos is the charm of the town. It's hard to create charm and Los Gatos just has "it." The people, the sense of community, the quaint streets, the picturesque hillsides. It's like the perfect little town that should be in a Christmas snow globe.

Patch: What is one thing you would never change about your business?

McRay: I don't know if there is anything that I would "never" change. I think you have to be open-minded to change. Retail is an ever-changing business and you have to learn to adapt. I actually just made the decision to change the name of my business. I wanted to finally make it something that felt like my own. In February of 2013, I will be changing the name to "Kismet Boutique." I chose that name because I really felt like owning this store was meant to be for me.

Patch: What is your business' greatest asset?

McRay: My business' greatest asset has got to be my loyal customers. We are like family - we have gone through a lot together over the years and they are why I love coming to work every day.

Patch: What is your favorite spot in town?

McRay: I love Oak Meadow Park and the Billy Jones Railroad. I could hear the train whistle from my parent's house when I was little and I love taking my kids their now.

Patch: What's one thing the community should know about you?

McRay: My husband and I re-connected at C.B. Hannegan's 12 years after we had gone to high school together. It was like Kismet. We now have two beautiful children together and live in Willow Glen. Los Gatos will always have a special place in my heart.

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