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Posted in Preston Features
JuliaClaire Repeat Boutique will be celebrating one year in business, and these volunteers have been a big part of it. Left to right: standing, Darwin Smith, Nancy Gardner, Steve Schlick; seated, Jan Knutson, Janet Althouse, and Hallie Snyder. Not pictured: Carter Johnson, Payton Schwingle, Barb Barrett, Tim Knapp, Doug Johnson. Photo by Jade Sexton
“It’s hard to believe how fast this year has gone,” stated Keating.
The year has been a busy one for Keating, and many things have changed with the store. When it first opened there were 34 consignors. There are currently 267. Keating has had to expand the store twice to accommodate the increase in merchandise.
The increase in inventory also means a greater selection for shoppers. In the beginning, there were a few women’s blouses to choose from, and now there are many more. There were a small number of children’s shoes at first, and now there are dozens of shoes in all sizes and styles. And there is so much more than clothing available; there are many gift items, books, jewelry, and accessories as well.
One thing that makes this boutique different from other consignment shops is the inclusion of work from local artisans. This feature allows artists from the area to showcase and sell their work, and has been very successful. When the shop opened, Keating had work from eight people; she now sells the work of 25 artists.
There are photographs, metal art, wood art, jewelry, candles, and textiles. “We have a nice variety of art,” said Keating.
Over the year, Keating has paid out more than $20,000 to consignors after selling their items in her store.
“It’s like a treasure hunt,” Keating says of shopping at her boutique. “You never know what you’re going to find!”
Things will be changing even more in the near future for Keating and her shop. The building where she is currently located has been sold, and she recently purchased the building next to the Weber and Judd pharmacy in Preston. The new building means a lot more room, which means a lot more merchandise, and Keating is very excited for the change.
Over the past year, Keating has developed a following of local shoppers, along with customers from all over the area. Keating has met people from Lanesboro, Harmony, Rochester, Eyota, Spring Valley, and Spring Grove, and many other towns.
Keating has become very involved in the community since moving to Preston a year ago. She is active on the Chamber of Commerce and excited about the direction the town is going. She sponsors the Kids Work for Wants Program, and recently began her own Relay for Life team to raise money for cancer research. Some people donate their items to the shop instead of consign them, and she donates those proceeds to Relay for Life. She has made donations to Grace Place, Thrifty Threads, Fillmore Central Schools, and various veterans’ organizations.
“I really want to give back to the community,” said Keating. “I feel like it’s the only way a community can work is if we all work together.”
When Keating started out, she had two people volunteering their time helping out at the shop. She now has 13 volunteers that help out with no pay, including two 13-year-old kids.
“Volunteers have made all of this possible,” shared Keating. “I’m actually able to take a day off now and then.”
Keating said she not only collects clothing, but she collects people as well. The volunteers, friends and customers have been the best thing about owning the shop. Keating tells of people who visit every day just to socialize, and people that help out just to be a part of it and make a difference.
As for the future, Keating sees great things for the store and for the town she calls home, and she is very pleased to have come this far in her first year.