- Associated Press - Monday, January 8, 2018

PORT HURON, Mich. (AP) - A new shop in downtown Port Huron built an online interest in boutique clothing into a brick-and-mortar store.

Laura Lyon, owner of Papaya Branch Boutique, opened the store’s doors on Dec. 3 after building a following on social media for her inventory. Lyon maintained an online store starting in July and built up from there.

“We chose downtown because it fit the personality of what we’re trying to do,” Lyon told The Times Herald .

Lyon maintains both a business page and closed Facebook group for those interested. She posts photos of about four products a day to generate interest in the store and drive sales. Customers can buy online or in the store.

Lyon has relatives in retail who do business around Atlanta’s suburbs.

“It’s kind of in the family,” Lyon said.

Cathy Steele of Capac has kept an eye on the store’s Facebook presence. This eventually led her to visit the physical store in Port Huron. Steele said she enjoys the styles of clothing, supporting small business with her purchases and the service at Papaya Branch Boutique. Other boutiques seem targeted exclusively to younger women who wear smaller sizes, but Lyon’s shop maintains a full range of sizes, she said.

“I think the other boutiques would do better if they geared it to all ages and sizes,” Steele said.

Steele, who is 65, added that people shouldn’t have to choose between practicality and appearances when it comes to clothing.

“At this stage of my life, I like to be comfortable but also like to be stylish,” Steele said.

Michelle Carey hasn’t been down to the store yet, but said she has followed Papaya Branch Boutique online. Like Steele, she also applauded Papaya Branch Boutique carrying clothes for women of all sizes.

For Carey, the introduction of Papaya Branch Boutique is reminiscent of downtown Port Huron in days past. She recalled shopping in the various department stores downtown and would welcome having that kind of experience back.

“I miss going downtown to the stores and all that,” Carey said. “Downtown was a hopping place, you went downtown for anything and everything.”

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Information from: Times Herald, http://www.thetimesherald.com


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