By Michelle Caceres

When River Hills Country Club staff member Amy Flori was organizing a special event for women Clubhouse Members and their guests, she looked no further than the upscale T Marie’s Fashion & Gifts Boutique.

“The ladies of the club are always looking for fun ladies’ nights out,” said Flori. “We selected T Marie’s for its convenient location and the ability to combine socializing and shopping.”

Twenty-five women enjoyed an evening of hors d’oeuvres and drinks while shopping in the 2,600 sq. ft. boutique for the season’s most sought-after but affordable clothing and accessories. A personal stylist was on hand to help shoppers find clothing and jewelry to best suit their individual tastes. Partygoers received goody bags at the end of the evening.

T Marie’s General Manager Lindsey Ress said the shopping parties are a fun way to spend time with friends and family while receiving personalized after-hours attention. She said the store has hosted bridal and wedding parties, Sweet 16 and girls’ nights out.

“The private parties have been very popular,” she said.

Owner T Marie Benchley began offering private parties when customers started asking for them.

“I think women yearn for a time when shopping was more of a personal experience and it could be leisurely enjoyed,” she said. With marble floors, crystal chandeliers and dressing rooms, the boutique certainly reminds customers of a time when shops spent as much time on the décor as it did on its merchandise.

Benchley has also been busy offering her merchandise and services to many local charities. Most recently, Benchley has supported The Terry Curry Foundation by donating a one-of-a-kind Swarovski crystal embellished gold cocktail bag and a $1,000 shopping spree. She has also supported the GFWC Brandon Service League, Inc., Dress for Success, the Brandon Foundation and local high schools.

“We’re a part of this community and I feel like everyone needs to give back when they can,” Benchley said.

T Marie’s Fashion & Gifts Boutique is open Monday through Saturday 10 a.m.–7 p.m. and Sunday 12 Noon–5 p.m. Visit www.onlineboutiques.us or call 530-0922.