In 1973, Mary Jane Johnson was tasked with organizing the storefront of her husband’s pharmacy in the small town of Tallulah, Louisiana. Mary Jane picked out stylish clothing, jewelry, and accessories that became extremely popular and sold well within the community. What started out as this simple venture, is now a dearly-loved and thriving women’s boutique in Lafayette, Louisiana – Little Town Apparel, a name that pays homage to the “little town” of Tallulah.
Before establishing Little Town Apparel in Lafayette, Mary Jane traveled around the south selling Little Town clothing at trade shows. At one point, she was doing up to 15 trade shows in a year at Junior Leagues all over the country including the Tinsel and Treasures Holiday Market for the Junior League of Lafayette and even The Nutcracker Market in Houston. Her brand continued to gain popularity, and she was frequently asked when she would open a store.
Around 2006, hurricane Katrina displaced Amy Chappuis (Mary Jane’s daughter and current manager of Little Town Apparel) and her husband Cameron, and they decided to call Lafayette their home. They located in the Oil Center Gardens where they currently reside. Amy reached out to her mother and suggested that she open in a Little Town store in Lafayette.
Since establishing Little Town in Lafayette, the store has only continued to grow. Mary Jane focuses on clothing for ladies, and she dearly loves the clientele who come to shop with her. Time and time again, customers have commented to Mary Jane that a dress or other item they have bought from Little Town is their favorite item of clothing. “At Little Town you can find anything from something funky to something tailored and from juniors to ladies sizing,” says Mary Jane. “Little Town takes pride in having clothes that fit.”
It is no surprise that Mary Jane is able to please her customers because of how much thought and care she puts into assisting them. “What I love most about what I do is the people,” says Mary Jane. “I feel like it’s truly a blessing that I am standing in a platform where I can share with others. I’m lucky enough to where I can get to know someone and get to know what their needs are. And, I try to meet those needs as far as clothing for special occasions such as their daughter’s graduation, a grandchild’s event, or just a night out with the gals.”
The people are what Mary Jane loves about her business, and they are also what she loves about Lafayette. She has grown to love this community because the citizens are friendly, full of faith, and loyal to their city. “We appreciate the hundreds of repeat customers who visit our store every day. People can shop anywhere so I really and truly appreciate their business with us,” says Mary Jane. “Little Town has been growing since the start. We’re growing, we’re ready, and we want to help you be yourself,” says Mary Jane. “We don’t like to stuff our items down people’s faces. What we want is for people to be themselves and be the best they can be.”
Now a great grandmother, Mary Jane looks back on her time with Little Town and thanks God for the blessings and success she has had over the years. Mary Jane and her staff love to say, “If your clothes aren’t becoming to you, you need to be coming to Little Town.”
Little Town is truly a gem of a business. When you shop local, you have the benefit of interacting with shops like Little Town that work hard to support their community.