For those who frequent shopping malls to try on the latest high-end fashions or the newest Chanel lip shade, there is an expectation to receive the best customer service. And behind every exceptional shopping experience is a manager like Heather Shaw who is there to ensure each of the 200-plus associates at Saks Fifth Avenue in Boca Raton is on his or her A-games before assisting customers.
Donning a black dress with a Saks-exclusive brand gray denim jacket, a poised and confident Shaw weaves her way through the posh department store before stopping at a red-hot Ferrari parked inside. Written on it are the words “Boca Bacchanal.”
The 49-year-old wife and mother of two has been the vice president and general manager of the Town Center at Boca Raton’s Saks for four years and will co-chair this month’s Boca Bacchanal, taking place April 6 and 7. And she’ll do so in the most stylish manner possible. After all, fashion is her first love.
“I feel very fortunate to be in this market because it’s such a great market and we have very loyal clients and very philanthropic clients,” Shaw says. “The energy and the pace of the store is something that people usually comment on.”
That special energy is what has kept Shaw in the Saks family since graduating college and interning in New York. She’s held the title of general manager for 13 years with four of them spent at “the mothership” New York City flagship store.
“A big part of retail these days is we’re trying to make it about an experience and who we can have come to the store to talk to the clients,” Shaw says about the fashion events she brings to shoppers, including designer trunk shows. “I feel that’s what differentiates us from our competition and from shopping online.”
Aside from creating experiences for shoppers at Saks, Shaw has also masterminded several other ideas with the help of The Boca Raton Historical Society and Museum for its16th-annual Boca Bacchanal.
When Shaw first arrived at Town Center at Boca Raton’s Saks, the store hosted the Bacchanal’s kick-off party. Her involvement with the renowned foodie celebration has since expanded.
The two-day event, featuring vintner dinners at private venues and a Bacchanalia at Mizner Park Ampitheater, is where Shaw hopes to create an element of “surprise and delight” for guests. This year, Shaw promises new technological interactions during the tasting event and a few other photo ops. “[Guests] may want to dress a little fashionable—they may want to look chic that night,” she suggests.
While Boca Bacchanal will take center stage this month, Shaw dedicates herself to numerous other organizations as well. “Animals and children are my passion, and that’s why I’m on the board,” she says of her involvement with Florence Fuller Child Development Center and Tri-County Animal Rescue.
“It’s not work for me to be out,” she says. “I see all these people—we’re having a great time, everyone’s taking pictures and talking about their kids, and where they’re traveling and fashion. We just had some corporate visitors, and [said], ‘I feel very lucky.’”