Brenda La Fuente doesn’t see a downtown Gilroy with boarded-up buildings or vacated spaces; she sees a Monterey Street full of promise and already on the rise.
In September 2018 La Fuente opened the doors of Ivori Boutique at 7490 Monterey St. The store boasts a selection of contemporary women’s clothing along with shoes and home decor. An entrepreneur for over 12 years, La Fuente said downtown Gilroy now is reminiscent of when she opened her first store in Monterey, in early stages of a retail reawakening.
La Fuente sees that same promise in downtown Gilroy today. Ivori was recently recognized by Mayor Roland Velasco during his state of the city address, as an example of economic development in the city’s downtown.
“There’s so many historical buildings here, I think [the downtown] is going to evolve and be beautiful,” said La Fuente. “I think it’ll be even nicer that Morgan Hill.”
“I hadn’t planned on opening a store in Gilroy, but I truly believe in fate,” said La Fuente.
The Victorian crown molding that surrounds the inside of La Fuente’s space inspired the name. With a glass wall in the back of the shop that divides Ivori Boutique and BeautyMarks, the holistic salon run by Tammy DeCosta, the two women have created what they call “a one-stop shop” for GIlroy women.
La Fuente rents the building from downtown business owner, Gary Walton. She found DeCosta to fill the space, offering an array of skin, hair and body treatments.
Both women briefly owned businesses in Morgan Hill, but said that Gilroy businesses have created a much more welcoming environment.
“We all promote each other,” said DeCosta.