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Sunday, Dec 5, 2021

Pop-up boutique offers First Friday shopping

Small business owners selling products from women’s denim to necklaces made from wine corks gathered at the Blacksmith Shop on Poplar St. for a First Friday treat.

Hosted by Main Street Macon, the second “Flaunt: A First Friday Pop-up Boutique” was held Feb. 7 with doors opening at 5:00 p.m. and staying open until 8:00 p.m.

Ashley Marie’s, Beesa Skincare Studio, Envie Boutique, Flirt Fashions, Karats and Keepsakes, Mint, Sorella, and Tipsy & Co. participated in the event.

“Boutique retail remains an important part of our recruitment strategy for Downtown. Inviting local and regional businesses to see what Downtown Macon offers in terms of locations and demographics gets the area on their radar when considering additional locations,” said Mechel McKinley, Main Street Macon manager.

Although a few of the boutiques were from out of town, such as Flirt Fashions located in Athens, Ga., all have an online presence and are looking for ways to further expand their clientele.

“The first pop-up boutique in June was a tremendous success both for downtown and for the boutiques,” McKinley said. She considers the second pop-up boutique that arrived just in time for Valentine’s Day a success as well with steady foot traffic the whole night.

Mint, a boutique in Dublin, Ga., came to both events. Before June, they only had an online website. After their participation at the first pop-up boutique, they organized a pop-up boutique in Dublin, and now they have their own storefront there.

Even though they have decided not to open a store in downtown Macon for now, pop-up boutiques showed them expansion was a “viable option and that they had the capacity to do that,” McKinley said. McKinley counts this as a tangible success because their business grew and added a physical location.

The idea for the first pop-up boutique came over a dinner date with Molly McWilliams Wilkins and her friends who own Mint. They had noticed other cities hosting pop-up boutiques and thought “why can’t we do it here?” Whitney Metts, co-owner of Mint said.

“It’s a big collaborative effort,” Wilkins said. Wilkins helps organize the event and invites the boutique owners along with McKinley.

The boutiques range from high-end designer price points to clothing and accessories college students can afford.

Ashley Marie’s, a boutique with storefront locations in Perry, Ga., and Forsyth, Ga., proclaims customers rave about their prices. “Someone may have a dress for $100, but we would carry it for $56,” said Lynn Bassett, owner.

Several boutiques, particularly Sorella and Tipsy & Co., expressed an interest in visiting students and Greek chapters at Mercer University and other surrounding colleges.

The economic side to supporting small, local businesses is cyclical. Money spent locally goes to the paychecks of the employees who then spend their paychecks locally. It’s an economic model practiced by many cities throughout the nation and seems to create a more united community.

In addition, existing downtown boutiques—including Posh, Pink Chief Boutique and LoveJones Couture—stayed open Friday night with special deals.


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