It started the way many businesses start, with friends talking about an idea. And now, a year after opening their online fashions store Hawthorne-Collection.com
, next-door neighbors Leslie Plank and Stacy Gnewkowski are ready to open their first bricks-and-mortar location.
The shop at 3504 Chicago Dr. offers enough space for a main level showroom for the shop's specialty: affordable women's clothing, jewelry, and accessories. The lower level will be the order fulfillment and shipping area for the online store.
"About a year ago, Stacy and I were sitting and watching our kids play, and we said, hey we should sell women's jewelry online," says Plank with a laugh. "We started doing that and it grew, then we added accessories and it grew, then we added clothing. We kept thinking we'd love to open a store, no we can't do it, but couldn't shake the idea."
Plank says their experience at the 2014 West Michigan Women's Expo
pushed them to take the leap from virtual business to storefront.
"We went to the women's expo in March, and we couldn't believe how many people came through and were so complimentary," Plank says. "Everyone kept saying how cute our booth was, we love your products and prices, and where's your store. Well, we don't have a store. Then they said, you need one."
Plank, a full-time mom of two, and Gnewkowski, a school psychologist and mom of three, came up with the shop's name because they both live on Hawthorne Ct. They have worked the business in the evenings, filling orders from their basements. They're still working out details like store hours, and Plank says they'll have limited hours at first so they can still have time for their families. They hope to open in early May.
Writer: Deborah Johnson Wood, Development News Editor
Images courtesy of Hawthorne Collection Boutique