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Category: Small Business Spotlight

Published: August 30, 2017

You might be surprised to learn that a well-known brand like Chico's opened one of its first stores in Cherry Creek North 25 years ago. Store manager, Emily Guzzardo, walked us through the ways Chico's has managed to keep its "local" feel for so many years.

This particular store was the second Chico’s opened in Colorado, is that correct?

Emily: Yes. This store opened in 1992, and we were one of the original stores owned by the husband and wife team that founded Chico’s before it went corporate. We’re one of the stores that they were heavily involved with at the beginning.

Why stay in Cherry Creek North all this time?

Emily: I think we’ve stayed here because our customer is Cherry Creek North’s shopper for sure. They’re somebody who wants a little more personal service. We build relationships and even though we’re a corporate organization, we work to provide that personal experience. People wouldn’t know by coming in here that we’re corporate, by the way that we operate, by the look and feel.

I walked in at the same time as one of your customers and you greeted her by name. Is that common?

Emily: Haha, yes, and Deb is one of our regulars. We even know her husband and he comes here and buys for her. We want everyone to feel special when they walk through our doors.

Is it safe to say that the primary demographic Chico’s serves is 40 and up, or do you think that is changing?

Emily: Well, we don’t necessarily want to target thirty-somethings, because that’s what our sister-brand, White House Black Market, does. I will say that we don’t feature models in our catalog under 50, so we do try and stay true to our base. Our customer here leans a little differently than some of the other Chico’s in Colorado. We’ve got more people that are retired, but it feels like that is changing a little.

What is Chico’s most well-known for?

Emily: We usually first attract people because of our jewelry. That’s what we’re known for. We are a Florida-based retailer. We don’t have a lot of wear-to-work things, we target more of an effortless casual look. We usually have two sides to our store, a little bit dressy and a little more casual side and that rotates every month…and we definitely love our animal print.

Chico’s web site hosts a phenomenal blog called “Inside Chic” which has sections on travel, culture, wellness, food and wine…but fashion is just a small piece. Is this evidence that Chico’s wants to be a “lifestyle brand?”

Emily: It is. There’s a connection to what we have in our store and what women have and do in their everyday lives. It’s all one.

Was fashion something that always interested you?

Emily: I went to school for fashion merchandising. I have always worked in retail, but I didn’t know this was going to be my path, really. I thought maybe I could be a buyer, but this is what I knew and I liked to be up on my feet and talking to people. It just kept me here in Colorado. I didn’t want to leave to pursue more of the corporate side.

What is your favorite thing about working here?

Emily: Oh my gosh! The people. Incredible people. The customers and the team.

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