BY BARB BERGGOETZ
Rebecca Carter designs her homey bungalow boutique, Rebecca & Me, so it’s like shopping at your girlfriend’s house.
Linnell Schur draws customers to Daffodils with classic women’s fashions made of linen and other natural fabrics at reasonable prices.
Lisa Orme faithfully posts merchandise from her downtown shop, LolaRue & Company, on social media.
Owners of these three downtown shops — all just a little off the beaten path — face the challenge of attracting customers away from the downtown Square.
All three women enjoy their distinctive buildings, appreciate the lower overhead costs, and delight in making their shops reflect their personalities and the desires of their customers. They just wish there was more foot traffic.
“I fell in love with the building and the neighborhood, just one block south of downtown,” says Carter, of Rebecca & Me at 333 S. Lincoln St. “This is perfect for my merchandise. Being on a one-way street makes it harder for customers, but free parking is a plus,” she says.
Carter, who sells stylish clothing, jewelry, and children’s gifts, recognizes the difficulty of keeping up with financial ebbs and flows. It helps, she says, to participate in promotional events such as style shows, and to use Facebook. And she loves to listen and talk to her customers, giving them a “unique shopping experience.”
Schur sees her women’s apparel store, Daffodils at 402 W. 6th St., near Bloomingfoods West, as a destination shop with more character than a downtown building.
Shoppers walk into a lounge area on the Craftsman-style house’s front porch before reaching racks of clothes appealing to women in their middle years and beyond.
“I offer mature fashion that’s comfortable and classic,” says Schur, who reopened Daffodils in 2014 after a 10-year hiatus. “I like to offer quality clothes for not a lot of money.” Gradually, her previous customers are finding she’s open again. “After I establish my business again, I’ll be fine,” she says.
Orme, owner of LolaRue & Company at 118 S. College, just a block off the dowtown Square, keeps in touch with her artsy customers by posting on Facebook and Instagram. “My store has to be shown with pictures,” she says.
She sells painted furniture — bureaus, tables, and chairs — and an eclectic mix of handpainted signs, decorative boxes, jewelry, clothing, and home décor. “Once something starts to be a trend, I pull away from it,” she says.
Orme, too, loves her old building, with its tall, blue ceiling. “I don’t see any benefit from being on the Square. I just have great regular customers.”