I've only been to two local shops: Bell Blue & Pickles & Ice Cream.
CURB APPEAR & STORE DESIGN: Pickles & Ice Cream by far takes the cake when it comes to the overall "shopping experience". They have a beautiful location, well laid out store, attractive clerks who talk to you about your pregnancy, etc... Bella Blu on the other hand is located in a strip center, has an unassuming store front and the store layout leaves is less than desirable....I almost didn't go in because their "open" sign was off.
SERVICE: Bella Blu's staff is very low key and casual, the owner, who I believe to be a male, was in the shop the day I was there, (which may explain the lack of store design fluff) was very helpful and didn't push clothing items like they do at P&I (my personal shopping preference is to be offered a dressing room when I have clothes in my hands, answer a question if I have one and LEAVE ME ALONE. I know what looks cute on me and I don't want your suggestions). P&I is one of those shops where they are VERY involved with your every step, breath and if you want a comment from the store clerk on an item of clothing - all you have to do is look at it - it's very annoying, but that's my opinion, other people like this type of shopping experience.
PRODUCT VARIETY: Bella Blu by far takes the cake when it comes to variety - they have a TON of swim wear (although they don't have the room to display it), dresses (including formal) cute tops and jeans. I could have spent a lot more time in there, but quite frankly the store is a little crowded and I wanted to get out! P&I has a very nice selction, I found a few items I really liked, but once I got over how cute the presentation was in the store and got down to shopping, I only found 2 or 3 items I really wanted to take home with me.
WEBSITE: I've found P&I's website has much more to offer than their store & Bella Blue actually has more variety in the store.
Price: Bella Blue takes this one and all I have to do is use the Blue dress as an example. I tried on an adorable blue dress at Bella Blu, it didn't have a price tag (something really annoying I noticed about a lot of their clothes). I asked how much it was (again because they don't offer unsolicited information, which I love) and it was $79. Now I would have walked away with the dress if it had been $69, but the stitching was not very solid and the fabric was a little flimsy. All and all - it was a cute dress, but not the best quality - especially since I found it in a strip center boutique. I left the dress. I then proceeded to P&I - found the exact same dress priced at $119 - $40 higher! I was a little shocked, so I asked the clerk (who I later learned was the owner) if she matched competitor's pricing. She walked up, looked at the dress and said let me guess, Bella Blu. I told her yes, I was just there, etc. (I really didn't want her to match it - I was more curious to see if she would, in my opinion she should have because if she did - I wouldn't be writing this review or if I did it would be about how truly amazing their service really is, but she didn't). Instead she went on to say how it must have been a mistake in marking (at Bella Blue) and that she couldn't possibly see how they could get away with that price, that it was just over cost. That's when P&I lost me forever, I laughed so hard I almost spit out my decafe latte all over her pretty store. It was hilarious she actually said that to me like I was an idiot who knew nothing, where just 20 minutes prior I wouldn't have even paid $79! She then proceeded to tell me she would give the me the 20% discount the store was already offering... WOW thanks lady - you're a real gem.
I know I've gone on and on, but I truly think that local shops need to be a little more aware of what the competition is doing and be a little more in tune with the hormonal nature of their customers. I lied above - I will go back to P&I, just because I have very little choice when it comes to clothing right now, but I am true to Bella Blu - if I could only get the owner to redecorate his store... either way, I've decided $79 is not too much for that adorable blue dress and I'm going to go buy it today!