Chapter II: Meet KaraLynne


Sometimes change can be scary, and sometimes it’s exactly what you need. Anyone who walks by Chelsea Square right now would see that it’s undergoing some massive changes, but rest assured you shouldn’t be scared. With a full blown rebranding going underway, it’s easy to wonder what could possibly be waiting for us on the other side. In just a few short weeks the dust will settle, and what will be waiting at the very end of it will be a Chelsea Square with the same name, the same story, but an entirely different future. With a lot more work and excitement coming each day — today, our only job is to let you know that the old Chelsea Square is in good hands. Meet KaraLynne Wolfe, the brand new owner and operator of Chelsea Square. While there are still quite a few days left of preparation for our grand re-opening on September 9th, let’s get to know KaraLynne as we talk about her story and what we all have to look forward to in the coming years.

KaraLynne was born in Houston, Texas but quickly realized that the southern life wasn’t for her after she moved to Montclair in ’94. Here, she grew up and went to school at St. Cassian’s, Lacordaire, and eventually earned her degree from Montclair State University. “Back then Uptown was a little different: Olympia was still around, along with Orion and Luvis’ Candy Shop. My first jobs were at Score!, Budget Print, and Murph’s,” she said. While growing up and going to school, KaraLynne had aspirations of becoming a “suit in the city” and quickly realized that dream by working at companies such as MBNA, Wachovia, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, as well as Merrill Lynch (where she met her husband, Aaron).

Ever since leaving her position at Merrill Lynch, KaraLynne and her husband have clocked over 21 moves between them before buying a home in Miami. “The weather was awesome, I loved my job, we started to build a network out there. What more could you ask for?” she said, recalling her days in the Floridian city. However, when having a baby slowly started to become more and more of a reality, the young couple had a lot to consider when thinking about their next move. The answer came when KaraLynne thought about her childhood, “I’ve never felt as at home as I did in Montclair. We couldn’t think of a better place to raise [our daughter].”

The couple quickly packed their bags with their trajectory set for Montclair, however, with more than just starting a family on their minds. “When thinking about coming home, I wanted to be a part of the community. I loved working at Murph’s, and when Murph’s closed down it was very emotional for me. It was a staple there. The opportunity to take over Chelsea Square came to light and I knew that the timing and opportunity was a sign,” she said. So when KaraLynne and her husband finally settled in Montclair, there was a lot more preparation that needed to be done outside of setting up the nursery. She didn’t want to just live in the community, she wanted to interact with it and protect the history everyone knew and loved. But not just that, she wanted to give it new life.

When she looked at the streets she grew up on, she saw stores that meant more to people than just a place to buy clothes or knick knacks. These stores were a part of people’s homes and their story, and to her that was the most important part of Chelsea Square’s story. So she took the opportunity in front of her and bought the Chelsea Square you see today. “I only hope to make as big an impact as some of the stores that have stood the test of time. It is a humbling experience to be a part of this community and I only hope I can add value to it,” she said.

With that being said, KaraLynne took over Chelsea Square knowing that it had a lot of growing to do. In a community that is constantly getting bigger and welcoming new stores and new faces, she wanted to build a space that could embrace both the new and the old. She saw a tiny spot that could very well be the lively heart of self-care that Montclair needed — a place where the whole family can find something for themselves, and where “Me-Time” isn’t up for question. All it needed was a little push.

With that, down came the walls of the Chelsea Square we knew, and up are going the ones that we’ll come to know and love. Through all of this change, rest assured that what’s important will be preserved. “Chelsea Square has been here for over 38 years. I’ve shopped here since I was little. I remember coming in when we were old enough to go uptown by ourselves and buying the little bath pearls. I’ve also bought many gifts for my mom here, and I’m sure there are many customers and clients who share similar stories. People have been shopping here for decades, and our goal is to continue to serve our clients and enhance their experience. It is and always will be Chelsea Square,” she said.

Although a rebranding may sound indicative a complete 180º turn from what we’ve come to know, that doesn’t always have to be the case. “The rebranding came as a result of trying to capture the essence of where we began, but also to focus on our clients and how we want them to feel about themselves,” KaraLynne said.

Through talking to KaraLynne, we get a small sneak peek of what the future of Chelsea Square will be. The new Chelsea Square brand is bright and rejuvenating. It has a youthful face, but a maturity and grace far beyond its years. It fully embraces that beauty and confidence has no age, no gender, and no limits.

Have we piqued your interest? Well, the days are slowly counting down as we get closer and closer to opening the doors of Chelsea Square for good. Keep an eye out for more articles leading up to our grand re-opening, as well as more information about the amazing products and services the new Chelsea Square will have to offer. We’ll not only make the wait fun and exciting, but we’ll make it worth it. Be sure to come visit us on September 9th from 6pm to 9pm to reap all of the rewards that patience has to offer. Help us celebrate our new look and meet the new faces of Chelsea Square in an exciting night of food, drinks, and an irresistible 10% off discount to kick off our new brand. Oh, and if you’re lucky maybe you’ll even walk home with some prizes.

Together let’s celebrate new beginnings, and great friends.

Classic story, Exciting future.