BRIAN C. RITTMEYER| Tuesday, Nov. 16, 2021 11:31 a.m.
A pair of ventilation fans blowing out the aroma of chocolate used to draw people into a storefront on New Kensington’s Fifth Avenue.
That’s when Herman’s Nuts and Chocolates was located there.
Today, it’s women’s clothing from brands known in Los Angeles and New York that are bringing people through the door at Chlo’s Boutique.
Kimberly Waltenbaugh got her new store opened in time to draw in crowds who had come for the opening of Las Hachas, an ax throwing business across the street. She’s also had customers come from AngelWing, a yoga studio and wellness center down the road.
An Arnold native and 1981 Valley High graduate, Waltenbaugh, 58, ran Amore, a full-service salon, in Arnold for more than 20 years. She closed it three years ago.
She opened the boutique “because I’m crazy.”
“With the businesses growing in New Ken, I was so excited to see New Ken looking the way it is,” she said. “There’s no boutiques down there. There’s nothing in this area like that, especially what we sell.”
The store is named after Waltenbaugh’s daughter, Chloe Kuffel, who is helping her mother.
“We were sitting around trying to figure out a quirky little pun name,” Kuffel said. “Everyone calls me ‘Chlo’ — clothes, Chlo. Once people find out, they think it’s pretty clever.”
Waltenbaugh’s all-new inventory spans casual to dressy and almost formal, from size zero to plus sizes, for all ages. New stock arrives daily, and rotates for the seasons.
“No vendors around here carry a lot of these brands,” she said. “My biggest problem is getting my inventory. It’s coming in slowly.”
And except for the blue jeans, everything is black and white.
“Everything in here is a staple in a woman’s closet,” Waltenbaugh said. “Black and white is timeless. It never goes out of style.”
Waltenbaugh, a self-described “fashionista,” said she prices everything to be very affordable.
“It was priced for the area,” she said.
Waltenbaugh left her job as a payroll supervisor with Allegheny Ludlum in downtown Pittsburgh to open Amore. Its closing was not for a lack of business — Kuffel said her mother was sometimes working until 10 at night.
“After 20 some years, I was burned out,” Waltenbaugh said. “No weekends, no holidays, no nothing.”
But after closing the salon, Waltenbaugh kept doing nails out of her house to keep busy.
“She doesn’t know how to settle down,” Kuffel said. “This is something she wanted to do for a while. We’re all supporting her. I love fashion, too, so we decided to go for it.”
Waltenbaugh and her husband, Donald, put in long hours getting their space next to the new UPMC St. Margaret Family Health Center ready for the boutique’s opening.
“I wanted to be open for Las Hachas’ grand opening,” she said. “Everybody that came in bought something. There wasn’t one person who showed up that didn’t leave with a bag.”
Waltenbaugh describes Chlo’s Boutique as small and intimate.
“I think I’m going to outgrow it,” she said. “We’ll see how it goes.”