Lily Jane Boutique in Auburn earns Gold Retailer of the Year Award

AUBURN –  Sarah Jane Levine, owner of Lily Jane Boutique in Auburn, has been named a Gold Alabama Retailer of the Year in the Annual Sales Less Than $1 Million category. “I am grateful to receive this honor,” said Levine, expressing appreciation “to our loyal customers, staff, family, friends and the Auburn community for getting us where we are today. ‘Thank you’ truly is not enough!”

Lily Jane Boutique is among 11 businesses honored as the 2023 Retailers of the Year by the Alabama Retail Association.

Levine was a student at Auburn University in 2018 when she began “doing pop-up shows at friends’ and family’s homes.” Her entrepreneurial spirit continued as she opened a 150-square-foot store in the summer of 2020 while still in college. The tiny space “gave me a great opportunity to see if Lily Jane Boutique would be a success.” By 2022, Levine had graduated with a merchandising degree and Lily Jane Boutique grew into a 1,200-square-foot store in Midtown Auburn that strives to carry “the latest fashions with the best prices,” from game-day attire to bid-day accessories. The boutique is best known for its earring wall.

“Once we moved into the larger space, we added a men’s gift and clothing section as well as a bride/wedding section,” Levine said. Lily Jane Boutique also has two spaces in the Auburn Mall in vendor-based areas known as Maker and Merchant.

“She is a phenomenal young businessperson,” one of the Retailer of the Year judges noted. “She started with online sales and worked her way through college. She’s an entrepreneur like no other.”

Carol Ham, a customer and a retired educator with Auburn City Schools who served as Levine’s Chi Omega sorority adviser, said,Lily Jane Boutique has become a go-to destination for shoppers of all ages. Beyond her business cleverness, Sarah Jane has … generously contributed her time, resources and expertise to (community) initiatives that foster growth and connection.”

Anna Hovey, president and CEO of the Auburn Chamber of Commerce, who nominated Levine and Lily Jane Boutique as a Retailer of the Year, lauded her “perseverance, creativity and commitment to the community.” The chamber chose Lily Jane Boutique as its Retailer of the Year in 2022 and as the Emerging honoree in 2023 among its Best of Small Business Award winners.

Levine’s commitment to her industry and community includes speaking to a youth leadership group about her experiences, mentoring a middle-schooler interested in owning her own business, serving on Auburn University’s Young Alumni Council and serving as a committee member for Auburn Young Professionals, a branch of the Auburn Chamber of Commerce. Through Auburn University’s Eagles Program, Levine has inquired about potentially hiring “Eagles Students” for the spring 2024. “This program allows students with intellectual disabilities to receive a post-secondary education opportunity,” she said.

The Alabama Retailer of the Year awards, started in 1999, honor retailers who have demonstrated growth, innovation and a commitment to their respective communities. This year’s winners were selected from 57 entries submitted from a pool of 86 nominees.

“Sarah Jane Levine is a retailer of the year EVERY year to her customers, four employees and the Auburn community,” said Alabama Retail Association President Rick Brown.

Other 2023 Retailers of the Year
Previous Retailers of the Year

The Alabama Retail Association represents retailers, the largest private employer in the state of Alabama, before the Alabama Legislature and the U.S. Congress. Through sales of food, clothing, furniture, medicine and more, our 4,300 independent merchant and national company members touch almost every aspect of daily living. Since 1943, we’ve worked to promote what’s best for the retail industry in Alabama. Whether voicing the retail view when public policy is made, educating members about issues that impact them, negotiating rates for benefits and services or communicating the retail story, the Alabama Retail Association and its members are better together.

Sarah Jane Levine, Lily Jane Boutique | 337.348.4465
Nancy King Dennis, Alabama Retail Association | 334.868.2195 | 800.239.5423

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