Flourish Boutique moves and improves
Alaina Anderson | Monday, January 20, 2014
Flourish Boutique, a favorite shopping destination among Saint Mary’s students, will move locations, and customers can expect many improvements to their shopping experience, store owner and Saint Mary’s alumna Vanessa Cooreman Smith said.
Cooreman Smith said she opened Flourish Boutique in 2008 in a very small space and moved to the current location at Cleveland and Gumwood Roads in 2009. The store will relocate again because the land the house sits on has been sold to a developer.
“The house [in which the store is currently located] is historic and can’t be torn down, so it has to be physically moved to a different site so they can develop this [land] into better use for the busy corner,” Cooreman Smith said.
“We were offered the chance to move with the house, but I felt like we had outgrown it. I was also apprehensive about the down time it would to take to physically move it, so it felt like the right time to make a move I have already been wanting to make.”
The new location will be just around the corner at Centennial Place, next to Gigi’s Cupcakes, Cooreman Smith said. The new store will allow Flourish Boutique to double its inventory, as well as to add more dressing rooms, check-out stations, phone lines and designers, like Free People and Betsey Johnson.
“[The new store] will all be boutique quality and have a Flourish flair to it, but we will be expanding our product line,” Cooreman Smith said. “We are going to have more shoe selections and we’re also going to be offering gifts. … We will have a really fun selection of what you could expect at Flourish, but with cute gifts.”
Flourish Boutique uses student models on the store’s website, Cooreman Smith said.
“I think it’s really cool to use people [to model] that are essentially your customers,” Cooreman Smith said. “These real people, granted they are gorgeous girls that you know and love, are rocking out these looks and giving a credibility to the clothes. … It makes it more real.”
First-year Saint Mary’s student Katlynn Kennedy is one of the models for Flourish Boutique. Kennedy said modeling was very new to her, but the experience has helped her to grow.
“I love the environment at Flourish,” Kennedy said. “Everyone is so upbeat, so it was just an overall great time going there to model for them.”
Audrey Kiefer, a junior at Saint Mary’s who worked at Flourish Boutique during the fall semester, said she loved the experience working with many other Saint Mary’s graduates. “It was fun to share stories in the offices from classes, study abroad experiences and overall Saint Mary’s life,” Kiefer said. “All of the staff was very friendly and welcoming to me.”
Cooreman Smith said attending Saint Mary’s helped to give her the courage and dedication she needed to start her own business.
“Throughout my four years at Saint Mary’s, everyone was pouring into you that there’s nothing you can’t do as a woman and the sky’s the limit,” she said. “That definitely gave me a lot of confidence to start my own business.
“Life is short. … It’s really important to pick [a job] you’re passionate about and pursue it, even if you start small. … You never know where it’s going to lead.”