NEWBURYPORT — Retail veteran Liz Rodgers had a five-year business plan that included opening an apparel store in Portsmouth and then several years later considering another shop elsewhere on the coast.

But she had lunch in Newburyport several months ago, and she said she found the city so appealing that she accelerated her plan so she could start a venue here at once.

Her new clothing and accessories store, Lizology, recently opened at 37 State St., and right now there appears to be a good fit.

"I always wanted to be in Newburyport, I just didn't think it would be so soon," said Rodgers, whose shop is occupying the space formerly held by the apparel-store Azure, whose owner retired.

"Our first few days have been really good — I'm very pleased with the support that we've received so far."

Rodgers grew up in the New York area and always wanted to be in the fashion business. Her early years included a tenure with PVH Corp., a corporate titan in the field of apparel that owns such lines as Izod, Calvin Klein, Van Heusen and Tommy Hilfiger.

In 2002 she took an executive position with L.L. Bean, and was director of stores for the Maine-based company. The privately held enterprise has about 5,000 employees, and she was one of 60 top executives.

Bean, of course, is one of retail's top "lifestyle" brands, with its traditional look and its outdoor ethic.

But the lifestyle that Rodgers pursued at Bean was not one she wanted to continue.

"It's a great company, but commuting 75 miles from southern New Hampshire to Freeport (Maine) was challenging," said Rodgers, who lives in Greenland, N.H.

"Also, much of my time was away from home, traveling to our stores or going on buying trips."

Rodgers had a dream to open her own store, and about two years ago she left Bean to plan the creation of her own business. In May 2010, she opened Lizology in Portsmouth.

That was to be enough — until she lunched in Newburyport.

"Two is plenty," she said, when asked if she is thinking of a third branch. She said she wants to spend time serving customers, not creating a plan for more stores.

Lizology's stock includes ladies' dresses and pants in subdued tones and accessories in creative designs.

"I want women to see this as a boutique and have fun with fashion," she said, "and then be surprised by my price points."

Patty St. John, vice president of membership for the Greater Newburyport Chamber of Commerce and Industry, said the opening of the store attests to the attraction of the downtown as a retail venue.

"The store is a nice complement to what's offered, and will offer choices to hip women," St. John said.

Recommended for you