It started as a hobby, then led to a business. And this spring, Kayla Rathbun’s small business — Something Blue — expanded into a second store.
The original location at 1008 Main is now known as The Bluetique, a boutique featuring a variety of clothing, gifts and accessories. In April, Something Blue moved into 1012 Main to offer an expanded line of bridal and bridesmaid gowns.
Rathbun knew the time was right to grow her business, but was determined to stay in the historic downtown area. She had just asked her landlords for help in locating either a larger or secondary property when the owner of a previous business offered her their spot. The two stores are just one door apart, making it easy for staff to go back and forth during the day.
Gypsy Rose boutique previously had been located at the 1012 location, which also was a long-time Christian book store -- and before that, a bridal shop, Rathbun said, noting she is trying to discover more about that part of the building’s history.
Expanding has given Rathbun more room to display bridal gowns, some of which can be special ordered and others sold off the rack. It also provided the opportunity for the boutique to schedule two fitting appointments simultaneously, with private sitting areas for family and friends.
The new location also makes the wedding gowns more accessible -- most were located on the second story of the original store, and the area was closed to customers if a private fitting was scheduled, she said.
“With the gowns on the second floor, it was really hard because it was kind of like people would walk in and know that we had gowns, but I feel like in their heads they were like, ‘What kind of gowns? What do they look like?’ ” Rathbun said. “So now having them all out on one floor anyone can walk in and look through them. We have lots of people who just want to look.”
The idea for Rathbun’s business actually was born when she was planning her own wedding three years ago. It’s her goal to help make wedding planning special and less stressful for brides, she said.
Both stores have seen growing business, as well as Rathbun’s online Etsy boutique. The general clothing store and bridal boutique complement each other well, she said, as they tend to be busiest during different times of the year.
The business has wedding gown fittings scheduled most weekends, and The Bluetique also has seen a growing number of customers, she said.
“We’ve had awesome, awesome reception with that,” Rathbun said. “We’ve had so many new people in. I can’t even tell you. We are honestly having problems keeping things on the shelves. We get new stuff almost every day.”