Jessica Skartsiaris said when she and her husband, Steve, left New York City about five years ago, they fell in love with Stratford.
"It just seemed like such a pretty town," she said.
In October 2010, Skartsiaris sunk her roots deeper in Stratford when she opened a women's fashion shop, The Look On Main Boutique, in Stratford Center.
She said she distinguishes her store from other women's fashion boutiques by carrying small designers clothing and accessories instead of the name brand designers.
"It sets me apart from the other boutiques."
Skartsiaris also holds charity fashion events in the store to benefit cancer charities, children's charities and organizations like the March of Dimes. She did just that on Mother's Day last year by . Having a store is an opportunity to do something to help someone else, she said.
"Stratford has really embraced us," she said. "Many of my customers have become my friends."
Skartsiaris gained her knowledge of women's fashions by working in major designers' fashion showrooms in New York City in various roles including model, receptionist and marketing person.
She said she also worked as a television actress on series like Law & Order and in commercials. She had small roles that are known in the television and film industry as "under 5" parts because they typically have under five lines.
On Sept. 11, 2001, she was working at the French Connection fashion showroom on West 37th Street in Manhattan when the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center towers took place. After that, Skartsiaris said she didn't want to work in New York anymore.
She said she always wanted to open a store of her own. In fact, Skartsiaris said she had been planning it for years. Her schedule allows her to be active in the PTA at Chapel School, where her children attend.
Many of her customers are from out of town. Being near the train station in Stratford Center means people from New York who come to visit relatives and friends in Stratford are among her regular customers.
Skartsiaris said she is still developing her store and is ready to make more improvements in the coming year. One priority is for more charity fashion events, she said.