GorJess & LoveLee open in Glassboro

A new fashion boutique called GorJess and LoveLee has just opened in downtown Glassboro. The business is owned by young entrepreneurial sisters, Jess and Leah Rodio. Glassboro’s GorJess and LoveLee is the second location for this clothing store. Originally from Hammonton, the girls opened the store just a year ago at the young ages of 25 and 21.
“It was something I wanted to do since I was in middle school,” said Leah, now 22.

“Our first boutique did well and we figured, ‘Hey, we’re young, might as well go for it now because if not now, then when?’ We have faith the economy will pick up, and even if we just get by in a bad economy, we know our business will thrive when things turn around,” said Jess, now 26.

When the Hammonton business started growing quickly, the sisters knew they needed to open up a second shop. Though downtown Glassboro was not their first choice, it was the developing Rowan Boulevard project that brought them here.
“We shopped around in locations like Collingswood and Pitman and learned about all the work going into Rowan Boulevard through a friend,” Leah said. “We knew the project would be done by 2014 and thought we would be stupid not to get in here now because we will already be established by then.”

Leah attended the Fashion Institute of Technology for fashion and accessory design for two years, while Jess worked as a hairdresser. When the opportunity came for them to open the shop, they jumped at the chance.

“We always wanted to open a shop,” Leah said. “We are both creative in the appearance way, she [Jess] does the hair and I went to school for fashion. We joked about it when we were little. It was something we thought would be great but could never do.”

That was until a storefront opened in Hammonton while Leah was still in school. She had her eye on it for a while but did not want to make any moves until she was out of college. Before she knew it, another boutique had opened.
“It was upsetting because we wanted to be the first boutique in Hammonton,” Leah said.

However, after Leah had graduated, the shop moved and this was the sisters’ chance. With quick phone calls to family members and the landlord, before the girls knew it, they were signing a lease.
“It all happened so fast,” Leah said. “We literally blinked, signed a lease and opened two weeks later.”

Now, a year later, the girls have two shops to call their own. The Glassboro location has been open since late November and has already been building a clientele with the Rowan students.
Jess explained that is it a lot of fun being a young business owner.

“Don’t get me wrong, it’s stressful, too, but I really love being my own boss,” Jess said.

With any new business venture, there are challenges to overcome, such as how other people would react to the young entrepreneurs.

“Not many people take us seriously,” Jess said. “It takes longer to earn the respect of others as a business person.”

The shop is filled with unique women’s clothing and accessories.

“When purchasing clothes for the store, we are always looking for something different and stuff you wouldn’t see anywhere else,” Leah said.
GorJess and LoveLee have reasonable prices, too, ranging from $5 to $30.

The girls are focused on maintaining a successful business. What’s next for these young entrepreneurs? Possibly a third store.

“Our goal is to have three shops, with hopes of the next being in Philly,” Leah said. “But we won’t make any moves for another two years.”

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