Whether it’s the usual mother-daughter retail excursions to boutiques or a day at the farmer's market, Donna Rongstad and Gina Hoben love shopping together. The pair spent many summers perusing the fresh fruits and vegetables at the Minneapolis Farmer's Market, always sure to round off their time there with a stop at the booth of Mainstream Boutique.
For nearly three years Rongstad "pestered" the gal at Mainstream's booth, begging for a Maple Grove location. She loved the clothes and the people working there so much that she wanted a beloved boutique that she wouldn't have to drive across the river to visit. One day the ladies at the booth let her in on a little secret: Mainstream Boutique is a franchise and Rongstad could open one in Maple Grove.
Location, Location, Location
She knew right from the start that the Maple Grove location should be at the 200-acre plaza of shops, salons and medical offices, which is nestled between Target and North Memorial Hospital. "The Grove is beautiful," Rongstad stresses.
But it’s not all outer-beauty at Mainstream Boutique. The interior is what really has people talking. Her love of history manifests itself in décor that includes a 200-year-old gas lantern, 300-year-old French window shutters mounted on the walls and old theater lights hanging from the ceiling.
A Day at Mainstream
As they learned more about the Mainstream Boutique franchise, they realized that it wasn't just the cute clothes at the Farmer's Market that drew them to the business, but the positivity and friendliness of the ladies working there and the boutique's price point, which can be up to $30 less than other stores carrying the same brands.
Although they had never thought about opening a retail business, their previous work together at a cleaning company for hospitals and clinics helped them learn what it takes to make their customers happy—personalized service. At Mainstream Boutique you are treated like an individual in that the ladies find out what you’re looking for and search for a perfect match to suit your personal style.
While Mainstream’s selection is on-trend and in a variety of styles for all ages and sizes, the boutique gets new clothes in “daily” and once they’re out of a certain style, they don’t re-order. This helps keep the selection fresh and unique, although they do feature certain brands such as Miss Me, Silver and Monoreno frequently.
With a grand opening that included live models, treats and discounts, Mainstream Boutique kicked off in high gear last March and hasn’t looked back.
The surrounding businesses have been incredibly supportive; Rongstad says they often send their clients over to take a look at the shop. And, after being open for just eight weeks Mainstream already had “weekly shoppers” Rongstad boasts.
Their instant success can also be credited to a fun Facebook campaign. Each week, the ladies at Mainstream take photos of their newest selections and post them for all to see. If a customer happens to catch a glimpse of a must-have item, they’re welcome to call and place a hold to try it on.
In Good Company
As the third mother-daughter team in the franchise, the ladies have already felt a sense of empowerment and camaraderie from other female business owners. And the timing of the opening worked out perfectly—she and Hoben had just been laid off at their other jobs.
These days, you’ll find 26-year-old Hoben ordering clothes, helping customers and raising her three kids in Maple Grove and 50-year-old Rongstad doing office work for Mainstream, helping customers and enjoying life as a grandmother of four.
“I love our customers, I just love the people,” Rongstad says.
Check out Mainstream Boutique’s weekly selections on Facebook and visit them at The Grove to see what’s new. Mainstream Boutique, 15501 Grove Cir. N.; 763.315.0812
Mainstream Boutique receives new clothes daily. Here are a few trends to look for as you move into fall:
- Bright colors are definitely in. Try a vibrant orange dress with a long necklace and take the look from summer to fall by adding an oversized sweater and patterned scarf.
- Neutrals will never let you down. A crisp white blouse and a pair of jeans will take you through any season and never go out of style. Try embroidered or lightly studded denim for a fun twist on this classic look.
- Casual does not equal sloppy. The good news about hoodies is that they’re now so pretty, there’s no need to be drab. Find one in a floral print or sheer colorful cotton and pair it with a super feminine camisole. —Jena Ohman