FAIRFIELD, Conn. -- For someone who claims she never wears anything but flip flops, opening a flip flop store would be an ideal job, which is exactly what former teacher Karen Breault did on the Post Road in Fairfield.
Right on the corner of the Post Road and Miller Street is a store seemingly unlikely to do well in an area that has cold winters. But Fairfield loves flip flops, Breault said, and she loves Fairfield.
The Flip Flop Shop has been open only since July 19, but the amount of business has amazed Breault.
"We're doing really well. Now it's getting to the point where I'm trying to get more styles and contacting vendors because they are selling fast. I'm seeing my stock going lower and I'm having to restock," she said.
Breault spent the last 21 years working as a teacher for the Stamford Public School system while also focusing first on an ailing mother, father and brother then dealing with their deaths within several years of each other.
She said that she first heard about Flip Flop Shop while on medical leave from her teaching job in the Stamford Public Schools. After her 13-year-old son told her she was a better mom when she wasn't a teacher, she decided to try something new.
"It was the hardest decision of my life. Because for 21 years that was my identity," Breault said.
She spent 10 days at "Flip Flop College" learning about the franchise before the company helped her to open the Post Road storefront.
When asked why she didn't start a business in her hometown of Stamford, she said the foot traffic in a city center wasn't what she had hoped it might be. Fairfield, she said, has a great amount of foot traffic and the people in town seem to love flip flops. It doesn't hurt, she added, that college students, in her mind, are extremely fond of wearing them.
For a woman who has never owned a business before it can be difficult sometimes, she said, adding that her personality is more attuned to the front of the shop than doing the paperwork in the back.
And at the end of the day she might be the one person who looks forward to the traffic home to Stamford.
"Now I-95 is my therapy session! Because it's the only time I get away from everything," Breault said.
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