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New Charles City boutique continues to grow in downtown location

New Charles City boutique continues to grow in downtown location
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Susanne Peterson has grown Encore from a home business into a thriving shop.
By Travis Fischer, [email protected]

A home business has grown into a walk-in storefront as Encore, a boutique and consignment shop, continues to expand both its inventory and its floor space.

Owned by Susanne Peterson, the small business began as the stay-at-home mom started buying and selling items online for some extra income. Eventually, the home business started to outgrow her home.

“I was selling items out of my house through online vendors and my husband told me one day I should open my own store since I’d taken over two rooms in the house,” said Peterson.

Deciding to make the move into her own shop, Peterson found a location on Jackson St., just north of Central Park.

“I started shopping around for places that were in my budget and happened to come across this building,” said Peterson. “It was perfect.”

After doing some painting and building some shelves, she was ready to move in.

Opening in May, Peterson says that the shop took some time to build up a customer base. Over the last several months word of mouth has gradually increased the amount of foot traffic into the store.

“I get a lot of regular customers and a lot of brand new customers that say they heard from their friends that I’m here,” she said.

Right now, the primary focus of Peterson’s inventory rests in clothes for plus-sized women. Peterson said as a larger woman herself she knows the difficulty in finding clothes that fit and is happy to offer an avenue for other women find items to wear.

“I understand how hard it is so I can definitely relate to my customers,” said Peterson.

In addition to new and gently used clothes, the store also sells shoes, bags, purses, home décor and jewelry provided by her consigners, who get a 50/50 split on the sales.

“I have a very long list of consigners – ones that have been with me since I opened the store that continually bring me stuff,” she said.

Recently, she has begun to rent out corners of her store for local vendors to sell their own crafts and items.

With more customers coming in, Peterson says she is looking to expand her inventory into a wider range of sizes, offering clothing from size zero to 6X. She is even considering offering children’s clothes again, which she tried early on without much success.

“It might have been because people didn’t know I was here yet,” said Peterson.

As the store’s inventory grows, so has its floor plan. Peterson is currently in the process of expanding into the building’s neighboring apartment, bringing that space into the store.

From consignment items to custom orders, Peterson is looking forward to continuing to offer a variety of clothing items to the community.

“It feels good to know that women of all sizes know that they can come to my store and they can find something,” she said. “I’m excited to see what comes next after expanding the store and expanding the products that I have to offer.”

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