Dunmore woman blossoms as owner of city store

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Aug. 1—Maggie Mineo Zayac returned to her roots and blossomed.

The Dunmore resident owns the Daisy Collective, 328 Penn Ave., a groovy, free-spirited shop in downtown Scranton that sells women’s clothing and accessories as well as home decor items “for the modern-day Bohemian,” Zayac said.

The store radiates laid-back, positive vibes with a maximalist style that creates a sensory experience. Different fabrics, textures and hues color the room, but the store’s owner also is a source of vibrancy and warmth. Greeting each customer by name as they walked in on a recent Friday afternoon, Zayac strove to make each person feel welcome and inspired. She seeks to make fashion-forward, unique pieces more accessible to Northeast Pennsylvania residents but insists the Daisy Collective’s mission extends beyond clothing.

“This isn’t just a store,” Zayac said. “I always wanted this to be so much more than that. I wanted this place to be like an escape. You come in, you feel welcome and you can discover your style and yourself here. It’s powerful to put on a piece of clothing and completely transform. You feel confident, and you can do anything.”

Zayac empowers her customers through style and creativity, which mirrors her own journey. Always interested in art and more creative endeavors, Zayac earned a journalism degree from Marywood University and interned with former weekly entertainment newspaper Electric City.

After college, finding a job in the field proved difficult. While Zayac planned her next move, her sister’s soon-to-be roommate in New York City fell through. Their parents encouraged them to move to the city together, and Zayac took the leap outside her comfort zone.

“I am not someone who just drops everything and makes a spontaneous decision,” she said, laughing. “I am a huge planner, but it was just an opportunity that was never going to come along again, and I took the chance.”

Zayac had loved the brand Free People since she was in eighth grade, and as she lived only a few blocks from the store on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, she walked in one day and asked for any available position. They hired her as a visual design associate, which entailed working on the look and feel of the store and tapped into Zayac’s artistic side. Sometimes, Zayac dabbled in working with customers, which soon became the highlight of her workday. Even though the time she spent with them was short, she learned so much about their lives during these shopping trips.

“You were helping them pick out something special for usually some sort of big occasion like a shower or a wedding or a bachelorette (party), and you bond with them,” she said. “In New York City, you never see the same person twice — it’s very rare if you do — and I was wishing I had more of that connection with the same people.”

After a few years in the city, Zayac felt homesick and was ready to return to NEPA to start a new chapter with her now-husband, Bryan. Once back home, Zayac dreamed of a way to combine the Bohemian style and essence of Free People and Anthropologie with the connections and heart of Scranton.

With the help of her family, who threw its full support behind her, Zayac opened the Daisy Collective in November 2013. Since then, Zayac has become part of her customers’ lives. The closeness she missed in a setting like New York City came easy in her home region. She’s helped hundreds of shoppers pick out the perfect homecoming dress or birthday gift, and she’s been part of milestones like choosing a piece for someone’s first home. Zayac has shared happy moments as well as heartbreak, and she met some of her best friends through the Daisy Collective.

Most importantly, though, Zayac has guided customers to feel confident in their own skin. People who lament that they “can’t pull off” a certain piece or style have been pleasantly surprised at the results once they step outside their comfort zone.

“You see the transformation,” Zayac said. “I love watching someone look at themselves in the mirror and feel amazing and confident. They leave so happy. … I love when they say things like, ‘You know, I never thought I would find anything for me in this store.’ and that’s the fun part. Sometimes they might not think this boho style is their style, but we can find something for everyone. You’ll never feel forced into anything, but I want to listen to you and talk about your style and find the perfect piece”

The Daisy Collective sits in good company on Penn Avenue, as restaurants, a bakery, arts spaces and more popped up over the years. The store and RD Hair Salon and Blow Dry Bar share a back door, and clients sometimes pop over to browse and shop while their hair processes. Zayac’s mom also recently opened the Art Room up the street, where the former art teacher caters to children 18 months to 13 years. Zayac loves having her mom close and also helps her at the Art Room, where Zayac can again use her creative side.

Even outside of her street, Zayac welcomes new businesses, even boutiques, all over downtown Scranton and beyond.

“The best thing for businesses are more businesses,” she said. “The more businesses, the more diversity in what’s offered, the more reasons people have to come downtown instead of going to a bigger city somewhere else. It benefits all of us. The more the merrier”

Zayac knows her biggest current challenge is striking a balance between her life as a businesswoman and as a mom to sons Wilson, 3, and Max, 5 months. She has a supportive husband and family as well as Kelly Ann, her employee who keeps everything running smoothly out front while Zayac focuses on the business’ back end. Zayac loves her career and feels proud to show her children the product of her hard work. And no matter what the future brings, Zayac will forge her own path and bloom where she’s planted.

“Thinking back to eight years ago, I can’t believe this is my life and what I get to do,” she said. “When I meet someone new who comes in (to the Daisy Collective) and I know I’ve made a connection, that’s why I do what I do.”

Contact the writer: gmazur@timesshamrock.com; 570-348-9127; @gmazurTT on Twitter

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