In 1975 Montrealers Chris and April Cornell came back from an Asian trip with their luggage stuffed with hundreds of pounds of kilims, Kandahar wedding shirts, Turkomen jewelry, Nepali jackets, Afghani socks, and Kuchi tribal dresses – enough to open a boutique called La Cache on Green Avenue in May 1975. The boutique was a hit.
In 1981 the couple expanded their enterprise, opening more stores, eventually acquiring two factories and a printing mill in India to produce clothing with a Victorian flare under the April Cornell label. In 1992 the company, which now had wholesale, manufacturing and licensing divisions, moved to Burlington Vermont. In 2005, the company operated over 100 stores in the U.S. and Canada — but then everything fell apart.
In 2006, the growing trend for online shopping was making enough of a dent in sales for Cornell, whose stores were locked into long leases with high rents, to require Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection. The company needed to reorganize. All but disappearing, the company has slowly and carefully come back – revisiting the boutique concept for four stores and an online sales site that offers housewares, linens, and a small selection of clothing.