by Bob Grawey
When Jane and Jay Bunting of Wayzata Bay Spice Company decided to close the spice company’s retail store on Main Street in Rogers, they thought, “Who would be better to take over the retail space than Marilyn Post, owner of Marilyn’s Boutique?”
The spice company’s wholesale business was taking off in so many directions, it was getting too hard to maintain the retail outlet.
So, Jane went to see Post at her store and proposed the idea to her.
Post jumped at the opportunity. After all, it would be a much better location than where her store was tucked away in the 101 Market Place mall. She says people just did not know she was back there amidst businesses like a bank and day-care center.
Since moving to Main Street over Memorial Day weekend this year, customer traffic and sales have noticeably increased.
Post says one of her biggest surprises has been the male customers she is now getting.
At her old location, she says she never had men come into her boutique. Now, one-third of her customers are men coming in to purchase Wayzata Bay spices she carries for the Buntings.
In fact, Post plans to turn one corner of her boutique into a “man cave” that will feature items more inclined toward her male customers.
Though the retail space on Main Street is smaller and has no back-room storage, that is fine with Post, who only buys in small quantities anyway.
“It’s a better fit. This place looks more like the boutiques you find up north,” Post says. “The wood floors make it warm. It’s fun.”
Post is all about making shopping at her boutique a fun experience. One of the things she does quite often is to have parties around themes such as The Gold Guys and parties featuring psychic Ruth Lordan.
Groups of eight or 10 women book a party that includes readings for each participant, adult beverages and finger foods.
Post says it combines a fun time with a shopping experience the women will remember for quite some time.
Other things Post does to make her boutique a fun experience for women include fishing and casino trips.
She says 50 women fill a charter bus and head for Lake Mille Lacs. Later in the day, the women hit the casino where they also stay during their getaway trip.
“This last time it was so much fun to see people’s faces as we’re getting off the (Land of Lakes) Choirboys’ bus.” Post laughs.
The creative entrepreneur also plans to add a ladies night out for Thursday nights.
“I want to pull the downtown shops together to create fun events that incorporate the various stores on Main Street,” Post explains.
These types of fun-based venues help to broaden the customer base for Marilyn’s Boutique. In the case of the women’s fishing trip, Post has them meet at her store, where they pay for the trip. While there, the women also do some shopping.
What they find are current selections of clothing, jewelry and accessories that are unique and can fit any occasion.
Buying in smaller quantities assures customers they will not see their outfit three times over at the next Sunday church service or at their favorite night spot. Even handbags are one-of-a-kind at Marilyn’s Boutique. Post may get 12 bags in one order, but no two are alike.
Fun boutique selections continue with Post’s colorful variety of glasses that make a unique gift for those who enjoy alcohol.
Sports-minded customers may appreciate the Rogers Royals line of sports gear, especially sports moms.
Post shows off a jacket for sports moms, much like a high school athlete’s letter jacket. The jacket has a place down one side for a mom’s daughter’s or son’s sports emblem.
Conscious of boutique items that will not cause her customers to gasp at the price tag, the owner of Marilyn’s Boutique says she is careful to carry only quality merchandise that offers value for her customers, too.
Those who would like to check out the many items Post carries in her boutique should mark Saturday, Sept. 10 on the calendar. That is when Post is scheduling her grand re-opening.
The event will run from noon to 4 p.m. and feature acoustic guitarist Vinnie Rose. Free food samples using Wayzata Bay spices will be offered as well, and a moon walk will keep kids busy.
Marilyn’s Boutique is located at 12820 Main St. in Rogers and is open:
•Tuesday through Thursday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m.
•Friday from 11a.m. to 6 p.m.
•Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Those interested can also check out the online store at marilynsboutiqueonline.com.
For more information call 763-515-3837.