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Ejona Maci, 27

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After emigrating from Albania with her family at age 8, Ejona Maci was determined to make the most of her life in the US. “When you come from a country that has no opportunity, you take every opportunity that comes to you,” she says. Now 27, Maci saw a chance to build something valuable in retail and, after working and saving money throughout her childhood, now owns two stores: a New Balance franchise in White Plains she launched in 2008, and a women’s clothing boutique called MACI, in Westwood, NJ, that she founded in 2012. Well aware of the challenges facing retailers from e-commerce, Maci has focused on delivering great service. Her salespeople spend two months in training, she says. “I get customers writing to me all the time: ‘Shopping at your store is like going to Apple or Tesla Motors. Everyone is really trained and qualified,’” Maci explains. It’s paying off, with sales increases at both stores every year. “If you have quality products and service that e-commerce can’t compete with, people are willing to get into their cars and come to the store.”

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