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The Story of the Store: Helene Gralnick


Helene Gralnick, one of the Chico’s founders, along with her husband Marvin, sparkles, shines, and charms effortlessly. Her style is classic, artisanal, and all about the details. She lights up every room she walks into. We were lucky enough to spend some time with Helene, learning what drove her to start Chico’s, and her thoughts on its evolution, while on location at the first ever Chico’s shop in Sanibel Island, FL.

Introduce yourself.

My name is Helene, and I’m 69.

What was the original idea behind the first Chico’s?

Marvin and I came to Sanibel Island because it’s safe and gorgeous. We thought it would be a fabulous place to raise our son and daughter. We needed to find something to do, and what we knew was Mexico. We met in Mexico, our children were born there; we felt like we had a Ph.D. in Mexico. We thought, “wouldn’t it be great to open a wonderful little shop?” So we opened our very first store right here, at Periwinkle Place, with folk art from Mexico. It was awesome. However, it was also a bit impossible because folk art is one-of-a-kind. If we sold a piece it was gone, and we would have to go back to Mexico and try to find something to replace it. Then, we found this sweater that was practically one-size-fits-all. It was for men, it was for women, it was for kids—we called it “unifamily.” That one sweater is what got us into the clothing business almost 35 years ago.

Did you ever imagine Chico’s would turn into what it is today?

I’ve got a great imagination and so does Marvin, but I don’t think we had any idea that Chico’s was going to be what it is now.

How do you feel about creating a brand that is dedicated to this amazing—and sometimes neglected demographic—women over 40?

I love our customer. She is ageless and timeless. I was 35 years old when we started this company, and I catered to myself. We would find things that we liked, and that I wanted to wear. It was never about age; it was about what makes you feel good, what makes you want to have a good time, and what brings out the best in you. It was our intention to make our customer feel as good as humanly possible and make ourselves feel as good as humanly possible. I know that’s a lot to expect from clothing, but that’s what we expected. I believe that Chico’s, to this day, wants to bring out the very best in each and every person that comes through our doors.

Why do you believe style is ageless?

Style is ageless because style comes from within. You can’t buy it. You can’t learn it. You can’t steal it. It’s you. It’s who you are. You can’t be someone else’s style. It just doesn’t work.

Why have those artisanal pieces been so important to Chico’s over the years?

Folk art has remained important to Chico’s because part of Chico’s’ charm and appeal is that it’s authentic. It didn’t start with some corporation creating a store. The store was from the heart, and there were very special, one-of-a-kind, handmade pieces.

How would you describe your own personal style?

I really just believe that if you feel good, you look your best. It’s as simple as that. It changes with how I feel. These days, I’m nature girl. I love to be outside, swimming, biking, kayaking, so it’s about what’s comfortable and makes me feel good. I live in jeans. I also love to get dressed up.

Where do you draw your style inspiration from?

I draw my style inspiration from my mom, Grace. She was gorgeous and just oozed style. The way she wore clothes, the way she dressed, the way she walked, the way she stood, she was awesome. She just had it. We designed my clothes together and she made them. She just knew what to do.

What do you think about aging?

I challenged myself to be as good as I can possibly be at 70. At 69, I’m in training for being 70, in my heart and in my soul. And, I can honestly say I’m excited about turning 70. I feel a lot more secure now than I did when I was younger.

If you could say something to your younger self, what would you tell her?

I would tell my younger self to lighten up. I would say, “It’s all going to happen just the way you want it. Focus on what you want and let the rest go away.”

Last but not least—what has Chico’s meant to you?

This is a very special place. My dreams came true here. Beyond my dreams came true here. I just wanted to create one perfect, amazing store with perfect, amazing people making other people happy all day. I wanted Chico’s to be a source of good in this world. I wanted every person that touched Chico’s to have their lives enhanced—and I mean everybody—from the customers, to the Chico’s team, to the suppliers. Everybody. I know that’s a tall order, but I wanted everybody to have a better life because of Chico’s, so this is very, very personal to me. This is a dream come true.

Watch below for more from Helene.

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99 Responses

    1. Merry Christmas, I have been going to chicos store since they first opened in fresno, California. I love and wear all the clothing I buy from chicos. Especially the no iron blouses. I am 69 and have been a chicos gal for a very long time. Thank you for all you wonderful clothing. Thank you for your great sales.

    2. I would love to speak with Helen, as I know a lot of people would as I would love to give her maybe just one of my ideas as I am a long time patron of Chicos and so appreciate her vision, personal style and love of life. (Just a dream) I am a loyal fan/customer and am not able to buy everything I would love to buy, but I save my gift cards that I receive from family and put some of my own money and buy some basics, like a jacket, slacks and piece of jewelry, “Wala”, an outfit from Chico that makes me feel good! I always wait on coupon or sale. I just love shopping at Chicos!!

    3. Myra crook

      So love chicos- visited sanibel last summer and stopped at the store several times. 74 – in training for 75. Age is only numbers.

    4. Auri Ruela

      I have been shopping at Chico’s in Garden City, Cranston, Rhode Island since its inception. I have every piece of Chico’s that I have bought even if it doesn’t fit anymore. Hopefully I will get back into all of it soon. I’ve even bought clothes knowing it didn’t fit just to have it in case….. The jewelry is awesome and I have several pieces. I had one favorite pair earrings that I cherished. Unfortunately, one of them was lost this year. I have been searching, seems like forever, on EBay in hopes. At one time, when a new specialty bag came out, I was on the scene to scoop it up. Retirement and weight gain changes everything, but I try to find events where I can wear some Chico. It makes me feel fabulous.

  1. Nancy

    A true gem in the fashion world! She has brought style, comfort, affordability, and uniqueness to women and to the fashion world.

  2. Nancy Lyons

    First went to chicos in the 90s in Salt Lake loved it because it made a statement!! Loved it then love it and the staff now! My home store is Greenville De.

  3. Wendy Pinsky Grasso

    I’ve known Helene since my college days. She attended my wedding in 1969. Helene has always had a certain flare in her style of clothing. I am a loyal customer of Chico’s. A casual dresser, but what I love about Chico’s clothes besides being comfortable & very stylish is that you can accessorize the most basic top & pants & it becomes a totally different look that can bring you from day to night.
    I’m very proud of what you & your husband, Marvin have developed. Kudos to you Helene!

  4. Alexis

    My husband walked into a Chicos and to,purchase a birthday gift for me. He was welcomed and helped by a very warm group of sales reps. He elected an ntire outfit complete with pants, jacket, tank top, but, jewelry…He actually said it was a pleasant experience. I was sold on Chico from then on. Thank you Helene for following through on your vision. Chico’s has provided me with lots of fun shopping that’s turned into great memories. Chicos is awesome!

    1. Barbara Wicklander

      I discovered your store when we were on vacation on Sannibel Island. I loved the casual clothes – they looked like what I wanted t wear all the time. I came back to Dallas and found one open about 15 miles away. I went there until one opened closer to me and I’ve been buying all my clothes there since. My friends started commenting on my wardrobe and started going to Chico’s as well. I’m so happy to have brought in so many of my friends to your store. I love Chico’s.

      1. I love Chico’s have been shopping there for 15 years now ! I am 68 there Clothing is fabulous! I always feel very put together and constantly get complimented on my outfits !
        Thank you

  5. Ann Rooney

    the story in Westfield, NJ was closed with any notice, or at least very little notice, what happened? any way wherethe closest store be. I am upset about this.

  6. Helene is lovely, and she and Marvin were very brave, very smart, and very creative. AND AMAZING! Without all their hard work and good luck, Chicos would not be a part of my life. And I do love it so much! I remember when our first Chico’s store opened where I lived on L.I. so many years ago…I was very sad when Helene and Marvin retired. I think that I was worried that Chicos would not survive without them. SO GLAD THAT IT HAS! I now shop in Chicos in Florida, but the truth is that wherever I am, if I can find a Chicos…it is always a happy eventuality. And they are all over the place!

  7. Having known Helene since I was 14 (or younger) I can honestly say she walks her talk. A beautiful soul, inside and out. Chico’s is for all women and most body shapes. The staff is well trained and treats customers like each person is special.

  8. glendakstyle

    What a beautiful woman with an inspiring spirit. I feel a kindred spirit with Helene. Her vision, along with her husband to create a store that captures the essence of fashion and folklore art is a sign of a true visionary. It’s great to see Ms. Chico’s and to hear more about this incredible company. Thank you.

  9. Marylou Cropp

    I love learning this I have been a been a Chico’s customer for years. My kids always give me money for all occasions for me to shop there. I just spent $350 I got for my B Day love that place.

    1. Miriam

      My family for every occasion gives me gift cert. for Chico’s. I have been a customer for the past 30 years and always am able to find clothing I love there. I have been very upset that I live in an upscale community yet must now travel far to get to Chico’s. The Suburban Square store has recently closed.
      Wiondeting if another will open in the area on the Main Line in Pa.?

  10. Dr.Carmen R.Buss

    Awsome lady,think like me and the original store is gorgeous.She can be my best friend,we think so much alike.Love Chicos! I am a plus size woman and it is the only store who make me feel sexy,well dress but comfortable.Travelers are my favorite since I am constantly visiting other worlds.Thank you for Chicos.

  11. Most of my closet is Chico’s. I became a passport member the first time I was introduced to Chico’s by a girlfriend. I have bought from every collection, the clothes just fit me and my style. And I too will be 70 next year and can’t wait to celebrate. I have become close friends with the gals who help me at my local Chico’s in northwest Tucson. Thank you for Chico’s!

  12. I visited that first store on Periwinkle in the late 80’s while time sharing in the area. I became a Passport member and I bought an all-purpose short sleeve white top, a textured belt, and a midi dress. To this day I still wear that perfect condition, though over-washed top, and that belt! Proof of the excellent quality of their clothing. (The midi dress also in great condition simply became out dated, so gave away). I quit Chico’s for a period of time in the 90s when their style changed to favor a much older consumer (not my taste), but I’m glad they are back to a younger look again, for the most part. And you can’t beat their quality. Thanks for creating Chico’s!

  13. Dennis Paul

    I started manufacturing jewelry for Helene & Marvin when they just had 22 stores. It was a joy and pleasure to work with Helene. Her outlook and ideas were wonderful. Spreading out the beads and putting styles together was just plain fun. All the best to 2 wonderful people. At 76 I’m almost retired on the east coast of Florida

  14. I did a purge for donation of all my summer clothing. And now my closet is is filled with Chico’s only. Love all my purchases and find they are timeless. I am 75 and my main store is in Burlington, On. Fall shopping is next!

  15. Barbara Kozbial

    I owned a ” Women’s Classic Casual” clothing store for twenty two years and have been retired now five years. I know retail! When I was in the USA my go to store was always Chico,s, it was my idea of the perfect store, selection,merchandising,accessories,fit and warm friendly service and there was always something on sale!
    I love the dress it up, dress it down, wear it forever style of the clothing. Perfect for travel! Thank you for expanding into Canada.

  16. Such a fabulous peek into the woman behind this great brand. I love her attitude and her style! Bravo for creating a com isn’t that supports and encourages all women to embrace their true style.

  17. Marian Quenneville

    I bought my first Chico outfits in Key West in the mid eighths. Habe been a true and faithful customer ever since. I am so happy that we are finally getting shops in Canada. Thanks for the style.

  18. Hello, I went to Chico’s when it was one store on Sanibel, and am a avid Chico girl! I am 69, and my closets nothing but Chico! Wether I am at our Florida home, Pennsylvania home or New Jersey, my closets are Chico! What a wonderful line of clothing. Joann Jones

  19. The first time I went into a Chico’s store was with my mom who is in her 60’s and I’m in my 40’s. I said why do you have me in this old lady store. As I walked around, I saw a lot of stuff that I liked and actually ended up buying a few things. From that day forward, I was sold on Chico’s and didn’t take long to break in my passport benefits😍. I look forward to receiving my packages and I receive a lot of compliments on my clothes. I had never heard of Chico’s until that day! My mom and I laugh about this to this day

  20. Judi Csomos

    Judi Csomos

    October 11, 2016 at 8:36 am

    I love your style and creativity. My first store was Chico’s/Sanibel, Perewinkle. Most of my clothes in my closet are Chico’s. I feel so good and stylish, it has become me. I am 69 years old and love it! Thank you so much for your vision and talents. Judi Csomos/Toledo, Ohio

  21. Elaine Schwind

    I am 47 now and have been shopping at Chico’s since they came to Perrysburg, OH. I have a large bust, am curvy and only 5’2″ so when I found Chico’s it was a godsend. I can walk in there and pick out things flattering to my figure and in an hour will likely have a new wardrobe for any season and the jeans (colors, patterns, bling) are awesome!

  22. Helayne

    I’ve been a Chico’s addict since the late 80’s. I’m now 73 and am still wearing some of my vintage Chico’s. The clothing line always makes me feel good, well dressed, put-together and stylish. As a former boutique owner, I appreciate the fact that I can mix and match items from this season with ones from several years back. Thanks for being fashion-forward but not too trendy.
    Helayne Gordon. Hallandale Beach, FL

  23. Anna

    My first experience was a the Chico’s in Sanibel in 1993 while vacationing with my daughter. I had to buy another bag to bring my new things home in. I have worn Chicos ever since. At one point I became discourage b/c the shell buttons they used fell apart. At first I asked for replacement buttons and they were gladly sent (at no charge of course) later I sent a letter expressing my frustration and shortly thereafter Chico’s discontinued the use of those buttons. What I love about Chico’s is the style, the durability of the clothing, the interchangeable Travelers Collection and the ease of cleaning. During a downturn in the economy I tried several other lines with no success.

  24. Nancy

    Great, great story!!! Love the philosophy of life!!
    I have been shopping at Chico’s for 21 years now and my closet is full with only Chico’s! I have tried other brands, however, nothing fits as well or looks as good as Chico’s! I shop online mostly but have my favorite store in Plano, TX that I visit often.

  25. Sharon Powers

    We were on a first vacation week at Sanibel Island several years ago and I got to go to Chico’s while I was there. I will be seventy on my upcoming birthday. I have joked that if it were not for Chico’s I would be naked! So glad you dreamed this dream and then took the steps to make it a reality. You are beautiful and an inspiration to me to embrace my age. With Chico’s I can do that in style!!!

  26. Jimmye Hudson

    Suggestion, I love Zenergy if it wasn’t quite so sports minded. I don’t golf, haha. Use that fabric to make clothes suitable for work. There were awesome pants a few yrs ago.
    I go from home, to work, to Grandma duty most days. Help.

  27. Betty Wicklund

    Betty , I have shopped at Chico’s for many years. I never leave disappointed! Service is great and choices flattering. I’m 74 and shop in Gresham Chico’s.

  28. Suzanne

    Thank you for your vision. CHICO’s is my go to store. I have been a customer since the mid
    80’s when staying on Sanibel. Mom and I visited the store and fell in love. There is always something so perfect I have to buy! Helene your story is such an inspiration. I usually shop in Mansfield, Ma. I love the boutique but I always try to find CHICO’s wherever I travel. I love your style Helene it reminds me so much of my mom.
    Thank you for this peek into your story and bless you and your husband for a continued healthy retirement.

  29. Kathleen Rhau

    Hello Helene, it’s so good to hear your story. I have been a loyal customer since your very first store in Periwinkle Place on Daniel Island. My parents had a Scandinavia Import shop there called Tivoli. Maybe you remember it? I am now a Florida resident on the east coast after teaching art for 35 years in NJ. Best wishes to you and your wonderful crew. Kathleen Rhau

  30. Diane M. Byas

    I am also a true Chico’s buyer. I have always been a Talbot’s fan and never really could find anything in Chico’s. I thought it too old, dowdy. Then during the Olympics when Michael Phelps’ mother was weraing Chicos clothing to cheer on her son, I thought hmm.. Let’s give it another chance. So I went in an bought alot of the Traveling clothing line to take on a trip to Italy and it looked and fit marvelous. I have been a BIG Fan of Chico’s ever since. Every season I have found some things to love and purchase. Thank you Helene for staring such a wonderful company. One day I must now visit your first store.

  31. Mary Jo Mydlach

    Love Chicos. I’m 79 and feel young in Chico’s clothes. Also l live in Zenergy although I don’t play tennis or golf. Modeled Zenergy pieces in a style show a couple years ago and couldn’t resist what I modeled. Had to buy them. I have many Chico’s pieces and looove them. Thanks for the store.

  32. Rose Mary Elzey

    First Chicos store I visited was in Fort Wayne, IN way back when. I have been at Chicos stores in Florida, California, and Indiana. Have shopped and had fun in all of them. I have so many Chicos clothes it looks like I own stock in the company. I am now 80 years old and still love the fit for a tall, long legged gal. Thank you for your polite, helpful, caring sales associates.

  33. Jane Dugan

    I shopped at the Sanibel Chicos more than thirty years ago. I wandered over after having lunch at the Mucky Duck. Having been born in New Mexico I fell in love with the ambience and the style. Mexican, southwest— I loved everything about it. And here I am in my late 60s, still shopping at Chicos. The styles have evolved but but are timeless. Thank you for your vision.

  34. Sharon Hadley

    I found Chico’s in 2008 by accident while waiting for a friend. I walked in and for the first time I tried on something it fit…I think jeans. I came back later to buy the most clothes I ever bought in my life !
    I’ve been shopping here since . I love the comfort – style – and personal service I get each time !!
    I am 72 but feel younger and look more in style than I did years ago .

  35. Martha Rasmussen

    Several years ag I introduced my daughter to Chico’s. She enjoys finding exactly what she’s looking for every time she visits. For something special, like a cruise, I know Chico’s is the store to buy style and quality at a reasonable price, and receive the assistance of helpful, courteous store associates. I’m always running into neighbors at the store; we who are in our 80’s find the styles ageless and fashionable. The Travelers selection is fabulous, as well as the jewelry.

  36. Christine D'Ambrosi

    Congratulations Helene. I became a loyal Chico’s family member when this fabulous, new boutique opened on my doorstep in Mount Kisco, New York some 25+ years ago. So new, so unique – so different! Then, over the years, I have to say, things changed – the line somehow didn’t suit me any more and I was unhappy with the quality/value Chico was offering. Even customer service became questionable. My loyalty was tested and I strayed – for several years. Recently, however, CHICOS IS BACK! I find petite styles I can actually try in store and the quality/design is being restored. Slowly but surely I am being lured back into Chicos boutiques and making exciting additions to my wardrobe. Therefore, Helene, CONGRATULATIONS once again – your originality, energy and being has returned to what is now an unbelievable entity.

  37. Peggy Carr

    I loose track of time but I have the original Chico card which freaks out many of the sales people that check me out w/all the items I purchase. When Chico originally started, I bought many of their creations…my Mom, who was way too honest, indicated that many of the pieces I wore were “not very flattering”…she was right and it wasn’t too much longer that their future lines seemed to flatter the audience they targeted. I am here to say that as a 67 year old I have been a “fashion plate” for Chicos for a very long time. I have sponsored parties @ Chico stores that have been incredibly successful. My objective has always been to make women feel as wonderful as I have wearing Chico clothing. There have been times when I wanted to contact “whomever” @ Chicos to tell them what styles women were craving. After all the target market is 40+…they can afford to look and feel very special wearing Chico! Thank you Helene for having the vision…you have made me feel very special no matter where I go!!

    1. mary king

      I also have the original card! Look for a Chicos store wherever we travel. Always buy something! I love the original idea of the reason this store was created.

  38. Carol Gallo

    I could not live in this world without CHICO’S. I would say 98% of my wardrobe is from Chico’s that includes purses, jewelry, sunglasses, watches et al. I am 78 years old and first became acquainted with Chico’s at their Lane Avenue store in Columbus, Ohio, when I was in my 20’s. Back then it was colorful, long sleeveless dresses, in casual styles that we bought and wore endlessly. Today it is my go to store for ANYTHING! Always chic, always stylish, always something new and different. I have to tell you I am overweight (not a lot, but enough) and the clothes I buy are so stylish and pretty–no one seems to notice. I have always said proper make-up and the right clothes make the woman. And they also make that woman feel beautiful and confident about herself. So thank Chico’s for being a very important part of my life. No matter where I go in your clothes I feel beautiful and confident and that is so very important to me. I always get compliments on my wardrobe and I always extol the virtues of Chico’s when that happens. They also have the most competent and caring people in their employ. I value that personal attention. I just can’t say enough about this wonderful store, so I’ll just say “Long live CHICO’S”. May they always be as successful as they are today.

  39. Margaret C Nichols

    I shopped at the first Chico’s on Sanibel back in the 1980s. Perhaps they had just opened, but I remember all those patterns and colors inspired by Mexico. I had a flannel style shirt/jacket that was soft and comfy; I wore it constantly. It took me years to finally dispose of it. I’m now 72 and still love the line. I’ve shopped Chico’s all these years and wear a size 1; not the 0 I used to be but happy to be healthy and active. There’s a Chico’s in the town where I live, and they know me. Oh dear! Great story about an amazing woman!

  40. Teri Hedrick

    I walked into a Chico’s Store in Northern Virginia in the 90’s and picked up mu first top with bold designs and colors with shell buttons and as I looked around I knew that it was a place I would purchase clothes from for a long time and still do to this day. The colors of the clothing were amazing and I love wearing bold, attention getting items. I then purchased 2 belts and every time I wear these belts people notice them and ask me where I purchased them, Chico’s of course. The colors did change for a little while and the traveler’s items took over and I understood those traveling items as i got older because when you went on a trip the last thing you would want to do is iron anything, I got it, but I am so glad that the original Mexican inspired colors and patterns are coming back. I know a Chico’s piece when I see it and I will also wear Chico’s till I’m 70 or even 80. Love the timeless, classy, eccentric and elegant clothing for the woman who wants to make an entrance/ appearance or a statement when they walk into a room. I have a Chico’s 5 minutes from my house and I am so glad. Thank you Helene for an amazing journey in clothing!

  41. Jan

    I walked into my first Chicos store in Chelsea square, Lancaster, pa. When I was in my early fifties. I was a true Chico’s virgin and sales associate Linda Seese took me under her wing. Linda is an awesome person who knows fashion, especially Chicos fashion. My closets are filled with Chicos clothes. They are fun and make me feel great. The entire experience of shopping at Chicos has always been a positive one. Thank you Helene for everything. I will be leaving for Floida’s gulf coast soon and will be visiting the shop at St Armand’s

  42. Martha

    Just turned 70. Don’t feel too much different than 25 only wiser. Love love love Chico’s . Their zenergy line of golf clothes is remarkable. Keep up the fashion good work!

  43. Louise Yale

    Walked into the Chico’s store in Lafayette, California (East Bay of San Francisco) in 1998, bought a blouse and have been a customer ever since visiting Chico’s stores wherever I travel in the US.
    Chico’s gets it right every time!!!

  44. DONNA SCHWARTZ

    God Bless you Helene! What a magnificent journey. I have been a loyal Chico’s customer (Passport # 00000096)
    proud owner of a “Parrot passport card”, since the eighties well before there was a store in Connecticut.
    I remember the matching Shirts with the parachute pants and big chuncky belts. Your impeccable taste and styling have kept me a loyal Chico’s customer all these years and many more to come.

  45. Ada Nelson

    I have shopped Chico’s since it first opened in Greensboro, NC. I know my size, so all I have to do is pic my favs and buy or order without even trying it on. Never had to return one thing, it is first class, never wears out, keeps it shape, tailored perfectly. I love Chico’s. Do not ever change!

  46. Wendy C

    My sentiments exactly the way I feel at 65. Love Chicos and every time I step into the Chicos in Lahaska, PA they make me feel special and I always leave with several pieces that go with other Chicos pieces. And to top it all off it’s the compliments I receive when wearing Chicos.

  47. Tia Drake

    God Bless Helene and all of the Chico’s women around the world. Goals accomplished! I always feel beautiful when I walk out my door, and I love all of the compliments I get from men and women alike. It doesn’t matter if I am dressed up or casual, I always make a statement. I travel a lot so I look for a Chico’s in every city that I visit. I personally think the styles are ageless because I get compliments for young and older people. I am 52 years old and I have never felt more classy, sexy and elegant in my life.

  48. Caridad Puentes

    Por mas de 20 anos me visto de Chicos, para mi no hay nada igual, espero por siempre la calidad de sus productos y el colorido que me fascina, cubana de nacimiento residente en Miami Beach Fl, Gracias

  49. Kathie Skalski

    I hope this will be seen by management….Just had a great experience with a Chicos salesperson..her name is Roz, she works at The Colonade on Fifth in Naples, Fl..I wanted a pair of jeans, but the store did not have my size..she located the jeans at another store, but knowing that I needed them in a few days, she wasn’t sure if they mailed them if they would get to me in time..She offered to go to the other store and bring them back to her store by the next day…she definitely went above and beyond…will definitely spread that story.

  50. We would LOVE to interview Helene Gralnick on our Boom Goddess Radio podcast. Our mission is to Ignite Inspiration in PrimeTime Women by providing a platform for connection; with connection being the #1 resource for wellbeing and vitality. We record a weekly podcast here in sunny Tucson, AZ and it’s available on our website, iTunes, Soundcloud, Stitcher and your Podcasts App. It would be a most glorious pleasure to capture Helene’s essence and share it with our listeners. My cell: 520-468-8005

  51. margot bernhardt

    CHICO’s is a marvelous shopping experience. There is always something new to explore with other clothes and ideas. Impeccable taste — always makes the person look great and feel wonderful.

  52. Susan Hensley

    I’m curious about how the name “Chico’s”, which is a masculine word, came to be the name for a women’s clothing store?

  53. I am a faithful customer of Chicos! I love everything about the marvelous experience that I have When I shop at your stores! I can’t begin to tell you the amounts of compliments that I receive when wearing your clothes ! I’m 59 years young and have had my share of hiccups in life but always when having a new something from Chicos it just is the best therapy! My oldest daughter in her 30’s who wears your smallest size is a fashionista who mixes your clothes with some of the most top designers and they always think that her clothes are priceless. This is probably the best compliment I can give you ! Give us more color and collections to give us a total look love love love your clothes May God Bless!

  54. I always have a special feeling when I relate the story of how Helene & I connected and became friends when she first moved from Miami to Sanibel. As best as I can remember that could be called the “Incubation” period for Chico’s. Then the first store opened . . . then the second . . . I even remember meeting Helene & her daughter in Palm Beach at the point they either opened or were ready to open a store there.

    Looking back over the last 35 years or so, the story of the “Universe” that Helene & Marvin created boggles my mind!! It definitely is a testament to the Power of a Creative Vision . . . and the tenacity of the Human Spirit. They are incomparable role models for me.

    I would love to connect with Helene again and thought perhaps this note could be passed on to her. I can be reached by email at susanschanerman@att.net or phone 561-419-8199.

  55. Jenni

    We were members at South Seas Plantation, taking our boat out there most weekends and spending weekends with extended family in SS condos. My 8 year old daughter and I would shop at this unique/fabulous store, when we were on Captiva, which was right across the street from South Seas. You’re right: an 8 yr old could find a Chico’s treasure, as well as her Mom. My favorite purchase was a light green sweat shirt, with a seaplane on the front. My Dad started out with Chalk’s, in Miami, in 1934, a charter service to the Bahamas, and he flew those kind of planes. I also called and asked where they got the pigskin barrel chairs, and ordered 4 for my house! I’m still a loyal Chicos customer!

  56. Kathy Anderson

    I LOVE Chico’s……………I have been shopping for years at Chico’s and love the unique styles…………the stores are always neat and displays well organized and the customer service is outstanding! I worked retail in Los Angeles and know how important customer service is. I applaud you Helene and Marvin for following your dream and your style and sharing it with us!! Thank you thank you thank you!

  57. Carol Madters

    I am excited to be the narrator for a fabulous Chico’ fashion show for over 200 beautiful senior women. I want them to feel beautiful and ageless. I only wear Chico’s and have several pieces that are over 15 years old, I can’t part with them. I took groups on art tours throughout the world, and the clothes travelled so well. Thank you Chico’s for dressing me all of these years, now in my 77th year.

  58. I would like to thank Helene because there are only about 2 stores where I can find clothes and fit me well and look good on. Chicos is my #1 go-to and I don’t know how I would dress myself without them. I was on Sanibel Island for the New Year and happened up “the first Chicos”. Fun to see where it all began!

  59. Cora Woodall

    The very first thing I purchased from Chicos 25 yrs ago looks as good today as it did then! Let Vegas CHICOS! 70 yrs old and going strong! Chicos makes my life beautiful and easier!

  60. Debi miles

    First time I went to Chico’s I desperately needed clothes to go to a job interview for a receptionist position. I had shot up to 225 pounds, felt old, no money and miserable. I called my husband from the dressing room to say that I had found this incredible outfit, Travelers Size 3 in a beautiful blue and I felt so good. I knew I could easily match different Traveler’s in case I grew.(UGH!) We were so broke. Well, got the job and eventually lots of Chico’s clothes and jewlery. Lost weight, went to 115 pounds(!), size 00, but could’t part with my size 3 clothes. Talking to my Aunt in CA, she said to send them to her. I sent 2 huge boxes, costed over $150 to mail them to CA. She loved the clothes, sending me pictures travelling in all my clothes to other countries. She couldn’t believe the Travelers didn’t wrinkle. That was 7 years ago and she still is wearing ALL of them! The only problem I have is….all the compliments I get! Had a lady in a restaurant yell across a crowded room how beautiful my outfit was, that her mom shopped at Chico’s too! I shop in the store in Waldorf, Maryland and the Store Manager, Blanca, has helped my bedroom closet grow to a rollable clothes rack and now our spare bedroom! Hope my Aunt doesn’t loose too much weight since these are all my clothes!! Since you need jewlery for each outfit, have boxes and boxes of matching jewlery. Thank you Chico’s and Blanca. I am 66 now and I DON’T CARE! I feel so good and I don’t look too bad either! I love Chico’s and WHBM. Thank you!

  61. Mari gold

    Ian from St. Louis and when visiting sanibel in early 80s I saw Marvin and said what are you doing here? I knew him from chesterfield , he said he just opened this store in sanibel. I bought a few thing and wished him well. I am now 83 and still wear chicos . Mazel tov ! Enjoy it all.

  62. I’ve shopped at Chico’s for at least ten years’ maybe longer. I still have beautiful jewelry from that era. What I want to say is that the quality of all the jewelry and some of the clothing has tanked. Ive taken my “old” jewelry into my Chico’s store, and the sales reps are stunned at what we used to buy.

  63. When I went to Sanibel for the first time I discovered Chicos that was 1983 the year It opened.
    Then they came to Indiana years later. But when I traveled I would always find one to shop and bring something fabulous home. I definitely have a Chicos wardrobe. I was T the Sanibel store around January 15,2017. Found great things to bring home. Definitely a CHICO GIRL👗👖👛💍

  64. Libarta Hanlan

    I love that you put your story out ! So great, so pleased to know how you both started! I love your clothes! The comfort of your soft pants and those chic white shirts that I feel so good in. Your style is my style. I’m 69 years old. Just love it. I think the ladies in your Tysons store are great!!

  65. Jan Naples

    Helene , I too love Mexico. We drive from Ohio to Acapulco, four week honeymoon. Have been back many times. I
    completly understand your inspiration. I was first introduced to Chicos ln Hudson, then Beachwood Mall in Ohio. Both were over one hour drive.. We made the road trip several times a year, mention to the manigures several times, as why we don’t have a Chicos in Youngstown . Well a couple years later you opened a Boardmen store. Thank You! Since then I have modeled your cloths for Easter Seals , Christian Women, and The Pillars Style Shows. Helene, I’m now 77 years old, and thanks to you I feel fabulous. By the way my daughters name is Nicole Helene Best of everything to you. You have made every one in our area feel great. Jan Naples

  66. Karen Jones

    I was introduced to Chico’s 25 years ago when I was living in Naples, Florida and it has been my “go to” store ever since. After living in FL for 5 years, I moved to Arkansas. I lived in a small town of 900 and there was no Chico’s store near me. So I started shopping online which was OK, but actually going into a Chico’s store is so mch better. When I visited my daughter in Omaha, she knew I just had to go to Chico’s! I usually left with at least 2 bags full of goodies! Now I live in NW Arkansas and there is a Chico’s store about 30 minutes from me. I’m elated that once again, I get to visit Chico’s; I always feel so special at the store. The sales staff at each store I visited was very attentive, knowledgeable, and honest about how certain clothes looked on me. I always knew that I would leave there a very satisfied and happy person! I am turning 75 in August and still love Chic’s clothes and accessories as much as I did in Naples.

  67. I started wearing Chico’s when I was in my 30’s. Now, I am in my 50’s. The clothes are fashionable, slimming, unique and timeless. Being a passport customer is the icing on the cake. By wardrobe would be bare without Chico’s.

  68. Ambareen Khan

    I first unassumingly walked into a Chico’s store a couple of days ago and was blown away. For ONCE I could see designs that were simple, yet not granny style. Gorgeous silhouettes that were not cut up to my navel! Perfect lengths, stunning color palette , just perfect perfect for a 41 year old me. Can’t say how glad I am that I FINALLY found a store that gets exactly what I want in clothes that don’t break the bank!

  69. Marty

    I have worn Chico’s clothes since I found a small store in TN a bunch of years ago! Anywhere my husband and I go, if I see one, he knows without me saying anything, to stop, wait on me and let me shop! We finally have a Chico’s now where we live in NC so I am definitely in my element!
    Thanks so much for all the beauty that is being and has been shared!

  70. judi raphaeli

    I wish that the clothes were like the originals. They were of good quality, natural fabrics and reasonable. The new ones are cheap looking and of poor quality, not made of natural fabrics and too expensive for what they are. Even your BL are not up to standard. My local store reps agree with me and complain that Chico’s better change or they will not be long for this world.

  71. Vicki

    The first time I ever shopped in a chicos was on sanibel. Would return every year and shop there. I have a closet full of chicos clothing but I have to agree with the comments that the quality is not at all what it used to be.

  72. I have loved Chicos since visiting friends that built a house in Sanibel in the late 80’s. One summer their teenage daughter worked in the store and I bought so many pieces. I cannot remember all the pieces but it looked Tex Mex in those days. I continued to shop Chicos in many locations in NJ, visiting other states and now in Florida. I buy in the stores and online. The clothes that I choose are so beautiful and the sizes fit 99% of the time. I have given so many pieces away to charity over the years however I will never give up my turtle necks and fur vests.
    Thank you, Helene

  73. Betsy Ostroff

    I went to Chico’s store many, many years ago in Captiva. It had so many treasures and I still have a beautiful copper and leather belt from that store which was around 30 years ago. So congratulations to you for doing what you did and I still have a memory of that special store in Captiva!

  74. Lauren

    I went to their first store in Sanibel, and fell in love. At the time, everything was cotton and wore like iron. I still have a top from way back when. I don’t shop there as often, things have gotten a little pricey and I miss their cotton/linen cropped pants that were elastic and so comfy!

  75. Beverly

    I’ve been a “Chico’s” person for over 25 years. I love the brand. I love the colors. I love the styles. These clothes are so comfortable and easy. I’m a true fan of the Travelers line. I only wear Chico’s. When friends see me and compliment on what I’m wearing they all know not to ask where I bought it as they know …..my answer is always Chico’s. I’m 69 going on 70 and I feel like a million bucks. One request…..please make travelers pants in the siesta orange. That would be awesome.

  76. My closet has very little but Chicos in it. I love the sales people at the Bell Tower Shops and Debbie has been dressing me for years. At 64, I feel confident and comfortable. It was funny when recently a Chico designer walked into my real estate office. From my under garments to my jewelry and even shoes I was all Chicos. We laughed that I was paying his salary. I am particularly fond of the light weight sleeveless tops that flow with the breeze and are just the right length. I have been trying to find more but it seems the designs are changing and I do miss a few tops I can’t find anymore. Thank you for sharing your story with us – and thank you for sharing your beautiful clothes with us all these years!

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