26850 Ortega Highway, Suite K
By Rachel Wilford
The San Juan Capistrano community can now enjoy upscale, Western fashion options with the opening of Wildfire Mercantile, a new women’s boutique owned by Susan Gregory-Stansbury that opened Wednesday, May 17.
Gregory-Stansbury has been a realtor in the area for over 20 years and also has an equestrian background. She is on the board of directors for Las Vaqueras, a women’s riding club, as well as the San Juan Capistrano Equestrian Coalition, an organization that works to preserve and protect the equestrian lifestyle in town. She also rides and competes often with her two horses named Bentley and Seamus.
“I love the Western style and I think San Juan will definitely support this boutique,” Gregory-Stansbury said. “We have a big equestrian community here and this town is historically a very Western town, so we really needed a store with this kind of flavor. It seemed like this was the town’s missing niche.”
Gregory-Stansbury said she had been thinking about opening up the boutique for quite some time and cultivated ideas about how she would do it from her annual visits to Cowboy Christmas—a shopping extravaganza at the National Finals Rodeo in Las Vegas. She and her husband, Troy, began searching for spaces and finally signed a lease downtown in April.
The boutique carries mainly women’s clothing items, but also features a rack of men’s clothing that Gregory-Stansbury calls “the guilty rack.” She says that phase two for the boutique is to start incorporating more menswear because it has been selling very quickly so far.
Wildfire Mercantile offers Western-style shirts, boots, hats, belts, denim and even jewelry. Gregory-Stansbury said she works with a Native American woman named Jenny Forks who lives in Oklahoma and makes all of the turquoise jewelry that is offered in in the shop by hand.
“This boutique offers upscale fashion with a Western flare,” Gregory-Stansbury said. “I try to provide items that women can wear both sandals and cowboy boots with.”
Gregory-Stansbury said she named the store after her favorite Michael Martin Murphey song, “Wildfire,” which is about a girl and her horse named Wildfire.
“My goal for this boutique is that when customers walk in, I want them to feel like this is a destination,” Gregory-Stansbury said. “I want to give people the feeling that this is some place different and special.”