Sherrie Goebel is a big believer in the power of renewal.
"I feel like every six to seven years, you have to have a major change to keep people interested — and to keep yourself focused," said Sherrie, who's made a career of being her own boss in the fashion industry.
Since 2000, Sherrie has owned and operated Nitro of Frankfort, a women's specialty clothing store in the heart of our capital city's historic downtown.
And since 1995, she's designed and marketed her own line of women's clothing under her Nitro USA brand, which she sells at her shop and also distributes to retailers throughout the country. The line is known for its fun, flashy use of rhinestones in its collegiate line of jackets, blouses and more for the discerning female. "I feel like everyone needs a change every so often," Sherrie said. "I've been self-employed for over 30 years, and these big changes over the years are what's helped keep things fresh for me."
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Sherrie got her start in fashion as a costume jewelry and clothing wholesaler in Richmond, Va., where she also owned and ran a tanning and hair salon.
But when her two children were young, Sherrie and her husband Tom decided to move back to Kentucky to be closer to their parents. Now grown, their son Kyle works with her handling Nitro's finances and advertising, while daughter Beth is in dental school.
Sherrie first launched her Nitro USA business in Midway, Ky. The unusual name came from driving through Nitro, W.Va., while on the way home to Kentucky.
Fifteen years ago, she shook things up by moving the retail shop to her current location in a historic building on Frankfort's West Main Street.
"I found this place entirely by accident," said Sherrie, who lives with her family in Versailles. "I was coming downtown to do some business at the courthouse. I happened to park in front and see the For Sale sign. I called, and the rest is history."
Now a staple of Frankfort's downtown, Nitro's popular third Wednesday, free "Hump Day" lunches — catered by neighboring Magee's Bakery — routinely pack the store with 40 to 80 shoppers.
"My customers are brilliant women who are fabulous at what they do, but for some, just knowing how to pull that professional look together may be challenging," said Sherrie, who is also a certified image consultant. "Working with my clients to help them find their best look is the most fun I have."
Feeling that seven-year itch for change, Sherrie recently shepherded her store through a major rejuvenation. Crews have restored the brick exterior, painted both outside and inside with a crisp, clean palate of taupe and black, and restored and exposed the store's original metal ceiling tiles.
And inside, shoppers will notice new clothing lines from brands like Escapada and Mud Pie, which specialize in bright, bold colors and easy-to-wear styles. The store will host an open house event on April 14 to launch the new lines.
When it comes to a fashion mantra, Sherrie's is simple: "I like classics with a little flair, a little twist."
Nitro's spring transition lines, in the shop now, are full of playful colors and prints and an array of tunics and long, breezy blouses that are easy to dress up or down.
"The colors (from New York designers) this year are muted blues and mauves, but I know my customers," Sherrie said. "We're in the South — and Southern women like bright colors. Color makes you feel good, and that's what fashion's all about."