It never fails.
Every single time I open Flutter’s black, wooden door – whether it be to shop, shadow a photoshoot or meet with one of the girls for a blog interview – the first bright and smiling face to greet me is the one that belongs to Kaylee Hollingsworth. If you’ve visited 100 State Street at any point within the past four years, I’d be willing to bet you’ve experienced that too.
Last Saturday morning was no different as I arrived at Lucid Coffee Bar to hear “Hey, Bradie!” coming from none other than Kaylee’s smiling face as she reached for her freshly made latte.
Her eyes were bright, her makeup rivaled that of a trained aesthetician and her hair was straightened to perfection. You would have never guessed that she spent the previous day helping Flutter run seamlessly while the store was at its busiest due to their Black Friday sale – where she ran from dressing rooms to registers to accessory tables and back again.
Exhaustion had met its match with Kaylee. As we gazed at the homemade soaps and candles on The Refinery’s shelves, she mentioned how ready she was to take on Small Business Saturday, after we were sufficiently coffee buzzed. Mostly to sell her favorite new arrival, KSlade oversized handbags.
Unfortunately for Flutter frequenters like myself, starting Wednesday, the happy face we’ve grown so accustomed to will no longer be there to greet us. Walking into those elegant wooden-floored rooms to find the perfect graduation dress or the Frye boots we’ve been eyeing on Flutter’s Instagram will feel as though it’s missing something very special.
Instead, Kaylee will be at Orthopedic Associates putting her degree in medical assisting to good use as she follows her dreams.
“I’m excited for a new adventure, but I’m also so sad to be leaving,” she said, looking somber as she continued. “These girls took me in as a baby at age 19 and have pretty much raised me.”
Before Kaylee became a member of the Flutter family, she was a regular customer – sometimes coming in looking for nothing other than conversation with the girls who were working.
“Weirdly enough, I would go in there to shop so much that it got to the point where, if I was upset about something, I would go in and just sit there and talk to the girls. I don’t know what it is about them, but you can just talk to them about anything and feel better,” she said as she shook her head and smiled. “I remember one time when I was upset, Lauren helped me pick out boots for over an hour to get my mind off of it. We just talked and tried on boots.”
These frequent visits turned into a paying position within the Flutter Family and all of the joys that came with it.
“This has become a family to me,” she said as her eyes slowly began welling up. “I was talking to Erin the other night while we closed and… oh gosh, I’m going to start crying,” she paused for a moment as she pulled herself back together and continued. “She was saying that there is a lot of life that goes on in the store, which is so true. We’ve gone through customers’ divorces, marriages, pregnancies, relationship problems; everything. We’ve gone through everything. Not only with each other, but with our customers too.”
It is that type of love and friendship that Kaylee says she will miss the most.
“I will always come back and help whenever they need me to. They will be visited by me quite often. I don’t want to say twice a week, because that sounds a little crazy, but I’ll probably find myself visiting that much. And I will also find a way to attend every Flutter Family Acapulco night.”
“No matter what I’m doing or where I’m going with my career, these girls will always be my family.”
~ Written by Bradie Gray