- Adrienne Fawcett
Run by a Mother and Her Daughters, ENAZ Attracts Mothers and Daughters
By Adrienne Fawcett
ENAZ prides itself on being a one-stop shop for mothers and daughters alike. This is literally true, as the trendy clothing store is run by a mother-daughters team. Founded in Highland Park in 1993 by Susan Lurie, its four stores – including one in Lake Forest -- are run today by Susan’s three daughters: Samantha Shapiro, Melinda Kaplan and Lena Blitstein.
The ENAZ family: from left, sisters Samantha Shapiro, Melinda Kaplan and Lena Blitstein with their mom who started it all, Susan Lurie.
But does the mother-daughter promise hold true when it comes to mothers and daughters actually shopping together? Does the store really have clothing that will appeal to mothers of a certain age who, say, like cardigan sweaters, and their young, trendier, sustainable-clothing-minded 20- or 30-something daughters?
To find the answer, I took my 24-year-old daughter shopping at ENAZ’s Lake Forest store at 760 Western Ave. -- and we were not disappointed. In fact, we were delighted with ENAZ’s selection of clothing, jewelry, accessories and bath-and-body products. My daughter was drawn to merchandise from clothing designers and jewelry artists from the North Shore and Chicago area, and she found a pair of brightly colored pajama pants with a Henley top perfect for winter weekends. I loved the soft fabrics of shirts and blouses in cool shades of blue, slate, and pink, and I even found a cardigan that I really liked! (If these are not your favorite colors, don’t worry. New merchandise is brought in almost every day.)
ENAZ has been ahead of clothing trends since Lurie opened its first shop, selling custom leather-goods under the acronym for Energy, Nature, Attitude and Zest for Life. The store has shifted away from leather (when I was there it had a cute metallic vegan jacket) and now focuses on clothing and accessories that are cleverly casual as well as being sophisticated and trendy. Right now, that means poet blouses, ruffle tops, T-shirts with puffy sleeves, balloon-sleeve sweaters, vegan leather skirts, and distressed jeans in a variety of styles. It also has some cute sweaters that don’t have any ruffles whatsoever.
In just 1,000 square feet, the Lake Forest ENAZ shop also sells costume jewelry and fine jewelry, and it has a spa counter with body washes, specialty lotions, perfumes and scented oils. The merchandise mix is the same at the other three stores, and the sales team transfers items from store to store if customers are looking for different sizes or colors.
“We have a sophisticated clientele, and we cater to her needs,” says Samantha Shapiro.
The Lake Forest ENAZ opened in March 2020, three days before the COVID-19 shelter-in-place orders began. The pandemic jolted the sisters into action.
“We hit the ground running,” says Shapiro, expanding online shopping capabilities on the ENAZ website and offering curbside pickup. The sisters also upped ENAZ’s social media presence.
But the ENAZ team is confident the in-person shopping experience will survive. “People love coming into the brick-and-mortar store and shopping, talking about the merchandise and trying things on,” notes Shapiro.
As for the Lake Forest location? “We love being in Lake Forest,” she says, pointing out that her sister Melinda Kaplan has lived here for 16 years and has two children at Lake Forest High School. “We’re in a great location right by the train, with good walking traffic. We see newcomers and also old friends. “ENAZ has been around for almost 30 years. People from our childhood are now moving to Lake Forest, and they remember ENAZ from growing up.”