‘It definitely takes a village’: How this Black-owned boutique found success in New Bedford


Seth Chitwood


NEW BEDFORD — For 18 years, Celia’s Boutique has seen it all from empty downtown storefronts to the Buy Black movement. The one part that has never changed: the love the mother/daughter co-owners have toward their community.

“I feel like our customer service at the boutique is concierge level,” said Tanya Alves, co-owner to the boutique, who works alongside her mother and namesake of the business, Celia Brito.

“It’s definitely a shopping experience. That’s what we try to provide,” Brito added.

When a customer walks into the boutique, at the corner of Pleasant and Williams streets, someone is standing by ready to offer a warm welcome, help assist with choosing a gift, putting pieces together, bringing items to the dressing room or just offering conversation.

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“We want to get to know who they are,” said Brito.

“My mom is a social butterfly,” Alves added with a laugh.

Since 2003, Celia’s Boutique has been a staple in the downtown New Bedford area when it first opened on Purchase Street in the former Cherry & Webb building.

“The energy in that building,” Alves said.” It definitely felt good to be in there.”

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