(this article appeared in the florida times union saturday november 24, 2001)

if you're looking for a store with true "snob appeal" and thought you'd have to travel to orlando or miami or atlanta or even further to find the kind of high-end, designer name clothing major urban centers are famous for, you're wrong. and rula carr wants you to know it.

rula is the owner, creator and driving force behind jacksonville's own local outlet for designer lines like chanel, giorgio armani, ellen tracy, dana buchman, calvin klein, dkny and kaspar. and while you might be able to find all those designers at stores in major cities, you're not likely to ever find them at more affordable prices than you will in little old jacksonville.

at ms. carr's upscale designer consignment store, "the snob, inc.," located in san marco at 1930 san marco boulevard, you can find chanel suits that would retail at $4000 in many famous clothing stores selling for $800. you can at times find a giorgio armani suit that normally retails for $2400 selling for $200-$400.

those eye-popping prices on eye-popping brand names don't come about by selling worn out clothes that have seen their best days. over the past eight years ms. carr has turned what started out as a hobby stemming from a childhood fascination with beautiful clothes into a business with national contacts attracting supplies of designer clothing from around the country and beyond.

along the way she's developed a national reputation that has also brought buyers from all corners.

"customer focus has been and continues to be our key to success," said ms. carr. "our customers are individuals with specific fashion tastes and desires. at the snob we carefully cultivate customer relationships over time and maintain individual 'wish lists' that allow us to fulfill many of our customers' desires."

for ms. carr, a british native, the flourishing of the snob, inc. is not just a business success, but also the fulfillment of a childhood dream.

"i was born and raised in london where my mother was a seamstress," said ms. carr. "i grew to appreciate fine clothes."

arriving in jacksonville in the early 1990's, with her eye for fine apparel she quickly realized "there was a gap in the ability (of residents) to buy designer clothes and accessories. i personally love designer clothes and accessories and for me they weren't affordable here."

at first as a hobby, she opened a shop on beach boulevard in 1993 "to meet the need for a store that would carry brand names and high end designer clothes and accessories at affordable prices."

she's quick and candid to admit that while time has proven her judgment of the jacksonville desire for such clothing, success wasn't quick or easy.

"it took us four years to build the business," she said. "it didn't happen overnight."

in 1994 she relocated the store to the san marco area and moved into her current location in 1998. today the shop's best sellers are brands like "ellen tracy, dkny and calvin klein, which are called bridge wear clothing, while our high-end sellers are chanel, giorgio armani, prada, gucci and escada."

in addition to clothing, "the snob, inc." carries high-end accessories and recently opened a 300-square foot addition dedicated to formal wear - gowns and cocktail dresses.

"the snob, inc." went online in 1998 at www.thesnob.net and today consumers can view approximately 400 items featured in the san marco store. the internet opened her store to the world and she routinely sells and receives clothing and accessories to and from customers all over the world.

"the snob, inc.", located at 1930 san marco boulevard, is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. monday through friday and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on saturdays. for more information, call 396-2249 or email the store at thesnobinc@hotmail.com