Cassie Ragan, owner of Ruby in Downtown Hammond, has now opened Ruby 2 inside of Spoga Fitness Center. Ruby and Ruby 2 are both a women’s apparel retail store.
Ragan bought Ruby in December 2012. She had always considered going into retail, and even had family in the retail business growing up. She was fascinated by clothing and the retail business, but chose a different career path after college. The previous owner of Ruby contacted Ragan about purchasing the store. She was still working in the architecture business. There was simply no time for Ragan to take ownership of the store and continue her career in architecture. She soon left the architecture business, and decided to take a few months off. It was then that Ragan decided to take a chance and pursue her passion of fashion and retail.
Ragan said, “The sun, the moon and the stars all aligned, and it finally happened.”
It has been a learning experience for Ragan, and everyday is a new day. Ragan has since expanded the brands that would be offered at the store. She also provided a better range of sizes, as well as a better price range.
Becky Mannino, an employee of Ruby for 5 years, said, “Working at Ruby has been a great pleasure, and I have gained much experience in areas such as customer service, marketing and leadership.”
Ruby and Ruby 2 provide clothes that can outfit a person of any age. The stores also offer clothing for all body types as well as personalities. Among the clothing brands that can be found at Ruby are Gentle Fawn, Knot Sisters, Cutloose, Z Supply, Johnny Was and Bobbi. Ruby is also known for denim brands such as Citizens of Humanity, Paige, Mavi and Articles of Society. The store offers a wide selection of shoe brands such as Bed Stu and OTBT. Aside from apparel, the stores also have a wide variety of candles, bath salts and even seasonal home décor.
Ragan said, “Word of mouth can sometimes be bad. There is a certain stigma saying you can only be a certain size to shop here and its super expensive. Neither of those two things are true.”
Owning the story has allowed Ragan to reconnect with people as well as put names to faces. It has also been a great way for Ragan to meet new people she hadn’t met before. She has met individuals along this journey who have become some of her greatest friends and best customers.
Torie Pittari, a Ruby employee, said, “Cassie is amazing at communicating well with our customers in order to find what they are looking for at the store.”
Hammond is a small town, which has presented some challenges for the store. Ragan is careful of what she purchases and how much of an item she purchases. In a town like Hammond, it is likely to run into someone with the same outfit. Ragan is aware of this and tries to keep this from happening to her customers.
Pittari said, “I enjoy putting an outfit together that will fit our customers personal style and make them happy.”
Ragan woke up one morning with an idea to expand the store. Ragan has always dealt with the issue of having too much inventory in Ruby. She is an instructor at Spoga Fitness Center, which recently opened a new building in Hammond. This building so happened to have a space created for retail. Ragan approached Spoga about using the space, and they were open to the idea.
It has been a natural transition for Ruby 2 to open. It is a slightly different customer base and has more of a lifestyle concept. Ruby 2 still carries the same brands as Ruby, but has that lifestyle based clothing and lifestyle based price point. Since the store is in a fitness center, Ruby 2 also carries workout clothing. People do not have to be a member of Spoga to visit Ruby 2.
Ragan said, “We try to make everything customer friendly and make shopping as easy as possible.”