Marsha Chouinard never suspected the email her stepdaughter sent from the East Lansing Art Fair would recommend a storefront as the family's next work of art.
But when Chouinard saw the picture of the vacated Kirabo's at 225 E. Grand River, she instantly knew it was the perfect place to open the Midwestern "sister store" of her Destin, Florida, boutique.
Chouinard began putting things in motion to open East Lansing Threads
—a clothing boutique for men and women featuring trendy brands such as Vineyard Vines, Southern Proper, Southern Tide, Southern Marsh, Ella Moss, 7 for All Mankind and Splendid. The 1,200-square-foot store also carries accessories and apparel from Over Under as well as designer handbags, footwear and artisan jewelry.
"Our brands aren't super expensive, but they're high quality and very well made," says Chouinard. "We try to hit, good, better and best for everything we carry."
Chouinard developed her passion for fashion from her career as a purchaser and manager of resort retail. She has opened nearly a dozen stores, including a Threads boutique in Destin.
"While our main market is college, we know that lots of moms and community members need casual weekend wear, too," says Chouinard. "In Destin, we see a variety of ages—from middle school all the way to up to men and women in their 50s."
After securing the spot in June, Chouinard enlisted a renovation team to build out the space. Changes included pulling out the drop ceiling, repainting walls with charcoal and light gray tones, installing a slate-looking floor, and adding fitting rooms, a new cash desk and alcoves.
Chouinard's husband, Marty, grew up in Greater Lansing, and encouraged her to give Michigan a try for her second Threads store.
"We're very excited to be part of the community, for sure," says Chouinard. "I'm really happy to have a reason to be up here and be near other members of my family."
Threads opened in late September with a staff of three full-time and five part-time employees.
Source: Marsha Chouinard, Owner, East Lansing Threads
Writer: Ann Kammerer, Development News Editor