pink and green polo rain boots New downtown Duluth boutiques cater to young women
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The recently opened women’s clothing stores Andi’s Closet and Zoe’s Boutique offer locally owned alternatives on Superior Street as an alternative to Miller Hill Mall and franchise chain stores.
Andi’s Closet set up shop June 9 in the former location of the Lakeview Coffeehouse in the Fitger’s Brewery Complex at 600 E. Superior St., while Zoe’s Boutique opened June 13 within Ed Barbo’s Columbia Clothing Company at 303 W. Superior St.
The two shops could fill a void for women’s clothing in the downtown area, an unmet market pointed out by a consultant to the Greater Downtown Council last winter. James McComb, president of McComb Group, a retail consulting company in Minneapolis, said the Miller Hill Mall has hip stores for kids and teenagers, while there is a significant underserved market that downtown can capitalize on.
The study from the Greater Downtown Council and the McComb Group said the potential for women’s clothing retail sales in the downtown area could be $18 million in 2010 and about $20 million by 2015.
Kristi Stokes, president of the Greater Downtown Council, spoke with Andi’s Closet owner Andrea Johnson about the study before she opened her store.
“I’ve always felt there is a market gap, especially in women’s clothing,” said Johnson, a part owner of the Duluth Running Company.
Zoe’s Boutique owner Stephanie Sinnott Wehr said women traveled from Duluth to her Cloquet boutique and clamored for a store closer to home.
“There just aren’t a lot of options” in Duluth, said Sinnott Wehr, who opened the second store to meet her customers’ requests.
At 25 years old, Johnson said she felt out of place shopping at the mall either too old for American Eagle and Abercrombie and Fitch or too young for Coldwater Creek and Talbots.