Boutique opens doors at Southlands shopping center

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AURORA | Southlands is about to get a little more fashionable.

Mainstream Boutique, a chain of women’s clothing and accessories boutiques, is set to open its first Colorado location Oct. 11 at 24291 E. Orchard Rd. Unit D, in southeast Aurora.

Dawn Johnson, the owner of the new location, said she discovered the store while visiting Minnesota, Mainstream’s home state.

“I love clothes but I love the brand,” she said.

Store manager Renee Bergstrom (left) and owner Dawn Johnson (right) are excited for Mainstream Boutique's future opening day. The chain of women’s clothing and accessories boutiques is set to open its first Colorado location Oct. 11, in southeast Aurora.  (Marla R. Keown/Aurora)
Store manager Renee Bergstrom (left) and owner Dawn Johnson (right) are excited for Mainstream Boutique’s future opening day. The chain of women’s clothing and accessories boutiques is set to open its first Colorado location Oct. 11, in southeast Aurora. (Marla R. Keown/Aurora)

Mainstream, which has more than two dozen stores in 11 states, bills itself as a sort of middle ground between the high-end, pricey independent boutiques and the less-expensive chain stores. The stores aren’t as pricey as similar-sized boutiques, but the company says the size of the company means they have buying power similar to that of larger chains. Last year, the company had nearly $7 million in sales, and in a statement officials said they are on pace for about $10 million this year. Mainstream started in 1991 in Minnesota as a direct sales company before launching the retail locations.

Marie DeNicola, president and CEO of Mainstream Boutique, credits franchisees like Johnson for the company’s growth over the years.

“We have an incredibly inspired group of franchisees who are so dedicated to a common goal, and we are excited Dawn is now a part of the Mainstream family,” she said in a statement announcing the new Aurora store.

The new store is about 1,000 square feet, a bit smaller than Mainstream’s typical stores, which are about 1,500 square feet. Johnson said that though her boutique is a bit smaller, the location is ideal because it’s close to Southlands, but in its own area with easy parking on the north end of the development.

Johnson said the store’s target market is women between about 30 and 60 years old, but she’s excited about the new location in part because southeast Aurora is home to two rapidly growing high schools.

“When the high schools are around it keeps you on trend,” she said. “They bring the trends first, they set the trend.”

While Johnson’ store in Southlands is the company’s first in Colorado, she said they hope to one day have as many as 14 stores around the state.

Johnson, who currently works in human resources in the travel industry, said she has always dreamed of being an independent business owner.

“I’ve always wanted to do something that was my own,” she said.

She plans to keep her current day job, but sees the store as a chance to try something new, and have something to pass on to her 10-year-old daughter.

Johnson said when the store opens, there will be just two employees and herself, but she hopes to grow that to five or six in the coming months, depending on how business is.

Hopefully, Johnson said, when her daughter is a teenager she will be one of those employees.

“I need a legacy for her,” she said. “This will be her family business.”

Johnson said she also hopes to employ local moms looking to return to work and at the same time give them a work environment that offers the freedom and flexibility to focus on their children and families.

Among the employees when the store opens next week will be the manager Renee Bergstrom While Johnson is new to the retail world, Bergstrom has been in retail for about the past seven years.

Still, the experience with Mainstream has been a different one, she said, because she is with the store from the very beginning.

“But I love this part,” she said. “Every time I walk in something is new.”