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New Uniform store, fashion boutique open in LaPlace

BY BROOKE R. CANTRELLE

L’OBSERVATEUR

 

LAPLACE — Longtime friends Tanglia Swilley and Shawanda Julien joined forces to bring their respective passions to the St. John the Baptist Parish community in a new Cambridge Corner storefront.

1036 W. Airline Highway Suite 115 is home to SJ NOLA and L&E Uniforms. While Julien’s SJ NOLA offers the latest styles in trendy clothing, Swilley’s L&E Uniforms is the only store in LaPlace specializing in high quality uniforms for healthcare workers.

A ribbon cutting ceremony for the new businesses was held on November 6.

Swilley has worked as a nurse for approximately 25 years. With so many healthcare heroes living in the River Parishes, she saw a need for a convenient location to purchase uniforms close to home.

According to Swilley, L&E Uniforms has perfect scrubs, caps and shoes for nurses, CNAs, respiratory therapists and people working in other healthcare positions.

L&E Uniforms has a selection of colors to coordinate with most local hospitals. The store also offers affordable uniform options for non-healthcare careers such as housekeeping.

“I enjoy uniforms, and I like to be comfortable when I’m at work,” Swilley said. “There’s no uniform shop in this area, so that brings a lot of traffic in once they see they don’t have to go all the way to Metairie for uniforms.”

While customers shop for uniforms, they can also shop for clothing through SJ NOLA.

Julien has been in retail for more than 25 years. She started her first clothing store in 2008 and later operated a shoe store. Her experience and familiarization with vendors led her to open SJ NOLA virtually two years ago.

Business was going well, and with a lot of people asking if they could come into her home to look at her merchandise, Julien knew it was time to open a storefront.

Since there are other boutiques in St. John Parish, Julien curates her merchandise to ensure customers who enter SJ NOLA have a unique shopping experience.

“Honestly, people can go anywhere to get fashion, so for me to stand out from the other boutiques that are out here, I carry totally different items than what they do,” Julien said. “Everything that’s trending right now is what I carry. I keep everyone up to date and stylish.”

Merchandise includes a lot of two-piece sets, bell-bottom jeans, New Orleans Saints gear, a wide array of tops and dresses, and accessories with bold and fun patterns. Bags shaped like Chinese to-go boxes are among the most popular items right now. Facemasks are also available.

The ladies said COVID-19 presented some challenges in opening the storefront, especially when it came to having merchandise shipped in. Now that the businesses are open, the main concerns are promoting social distancing and making sure everyone knows to “mask up” upon entering the store.

While the two businesses are separate entities, Julien said they stand out because of the friendship and teamwork that ties them together.

“We work well together, and we’ve been friends for a long time,” Julien said. “The business has been good so far, and it’s going to get better once people know we are here and that they don’t have to go to Metairie or Gonzales for uniforms. When they come in here and see all the uniforms, they shop around for clothes, too.”

Swilley is happy to work with a longtime friend who has retail expertise.

“She has been a Godsend on this. She’s guiding me in the right direction,” Swilley said.

Business hours are from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday, from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunday.

For more information, follow SJ Nola and L&E Uniforms on Facebook and Instagram, or visit sjnola.com and leuniforms.org.

A 10 percent discount on all purchases will be offered to military members, veterans and Ochsner employees throughout the month of November.