Yesterday on Lebanon Ave., "Simply Oak" boutique opened its doors to the public for the first time.

The grand opening was marked by a ribbon cutting ceremony, where family, friends and shoppers applauded as owner and alumna, Melissa Deaton '13, and her fiancĂ© Lucas Troutman '14 cut the light blue ribbon at the storefront.

Deaton gave a short speech to the crowd, which was spilling onto the street.

"We've been working very hard since October trying to get this ready for everybody, so thank you for all for coming out today," said Deaton. "I really, really appreciate it."

Deaton's best friend, Samantha Davis '13, was thrilled with the turnout and Deaton's success.

"She's dreamed about this ever since I met her," said Davis. "She deserves it and I know she's going to do really well. She's so happy, she's glowing."

Deaton's family and friends have been with her every step of the way. Customers peeking through the windows before 11 a.m. today, which, according to Deaton, was every couple of minutes, might have caught a glimpse of Deaton straightening the racks, her father buffing the windows, and Troutman making last minute adjustments.

The event attracted members of the greater Elon community as well, who, unlike some friends and family, had never before seen the space.

The lines were long and the clothing racks crowded with customers, old and young, juggling hangers and purses, but the inherent frustration that follows busy shopping was notably absent. The novelty of the boutique, paired with the laid-back atmosphere, drained any leftover tensions from the room.

"There are lots of smiles," Davis remarked, looking out on the bustling, open floor plan.

The boutique is aimed at satisfying college students and community members who are looking for fashionable and affordable apparel and accessories. The clothes are described by shoppers as boho chic and feminine, and soft pastels and statement jewelry seem to be staples of Simply Oak decor.

"It's very Melissa. It's very much her taste," said Davis.

And it seems Melissa's tastes are universal. Far and few between left without a sophisticated, black bag with a simple acorn insignia.

Simply Oak is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and located at 108 W. Lebanon Ave. Follow Simply Oak on Facebook at @SimplyOakBoutique and Instagram

Video by Michelle Klein

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