Store Owner Spotlight Darbe And Co

May 9th, 2016

Store Owner Spotlight Darbe&Co.

Our latest Store Owner Spotlight highlights a store that is all about personal service and providing their customers the latest in upscale women’s and children’s fashion. If you’re looking for big city style with a small town flare, you should definitely take a look inside Darbe&Co. Boutique.

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The Business

Darbe&Co. Boutique is an established retail apparel store celebrating 4 years in business. The store is located on North Main Street in the historic business district of Charles City, Iowa. Darbe&Co. Boutique offers style-conscious women a variety of clothing, accessories, and beauty essentials with a splash of energy and fun. They carry a selection of merchandise from some of the most respected women’s clothing lines available. As a companion to the clothing, Darbe&Co. Boutique also carries a wide selection of accessories: jewelry, purses, carry-on luggage, collegiate wear, and more. The store also offers a full line of skin care to keep your skin looking fresh and radiant.

How did you come up with the name of your business?

“Years ago, we traveled to London and were touring Bath, England. That is where I became enamored with a hat shop named Darbey’s. When I decided to open the boutique, I dropped the letter ‘y’ and named it Darbe&Co. Boutique.”

Do you have a background in retail? If not, what is your employment background?

“I have been a business partner and owner on Main Street in Charles City for almost 15 years.  Also, being a Property Manager for 13 years, I was very involved in the marketing and development of several commercial properties. In the spring of 2012, I purchased the building now known as Darbe&Co. Boutique.

What factors led you to decide to open a retail store/website?

“I felt that Main Street needed a boost in the selections available to sophisticated shoppers in northeast Iowa. Also, this was a great opportunity to help boost the local economy. Establishing a new niche for women’s clothing has been exciting and rewarding. I am thankful to my clients for their support, friendship, and encouragement!”


The Store

Inside of Darbe&Co. Boutique is an organized grouping of well styled apparel.  Within the space, tables full of merchandise are beautifully arranged to allow the shopper to properly view each piece. The displays are constantly updated to maintain their ever-changing inventory. Darbe&Co. even has a feature wall, stocked with everything from skin care products to wine racks.  The wine offering makes this store especially unique, capitalizing on the growing popularity of wine enthusiasts. What woman wouldn’t want to shop for clothing and purchase a bottle of wine within the same retail space?

What was your design strategy when you put your store together?

“Repurpose and renew. Everything involving the store design has the ability to repurpose what we have in the background and highlight our retail inventory. We’re a local destination and national trade secret for women seeking high value style. We offer hometown personal service and tasteful, sophisticated class, with a fun attitude. Darbe& Co. Boutique has the personal style trade secret you can afford to indulge in.”

What are some features/special events that you do at your store to set yourself apart from other retailers?

“We are the only “boutique” retailer on Main Street that sells wine. We organize and advertise our monthly Wine Walks and always have a dry wine sample on the counter with sweets in the cooler. Fresh coffee also welcomes our shoppers every day, along with the opportunity for wine tasting. Three times a year, we participate in shopping extravaganzas with other Charles City retailers. Some of these events include ChickFest in the spring, WitchFest in the fall, and ElfFest in the winter.

What advice if any would you give others seeking to open a retail business that you have benefited from?

“It is so important to advertise and be involved in the community. Also, do not forget to have fun and keep focused on your customers. Be consistent with your look; find a supplier and stick with them. Run routine sales and keep your lines and vendors fresh. Finally, give your customers something to look forward to: great customer service and fresh new displays showcasing fun inventory.”

Darbe&Co. Boutique
220 N. Main Street
Charles City, IA 50616
Facebook: Darbe&Co. Boutique
Web: darbe&


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Tulle Sale Wreath Tutorial

May 4th, 2016

Tulle Sale Wreath Tutorial

Attracting customer attention to your store is one of the many challenges that business owners face each day. One of the most effective ways to overcome this is by getting creative in your store’s front window. Window display presentation is a wonderful way to express your creativity, while drawing people into your store. By utilizing your creativity, you can offer your customers a glimpse of the style they will see once they walk through your doors.

We have put together a fun, eye-catching tulle wreath tutorial that you can use to easily draw customer attention, either in a window display or once they are already in the store. With only a few supplies and your imagination, you can create something unique that can be used again and again. Inside of the tulle wreath, we designed signage that spells out SALE using the blank back side of our blue chevron boutique signage. We simply ran 4 signs through a printer vertically with each individual letter printed in the middle of the sign. We made diagonal cuts on each side to create an old-fashioned hang tag, punched a hole, and secured it to the wreath with fishing line.  Our complete line of tulle is available here.


Store Owner Spotlight Kid’s Caboose

April 19th, 2016

Store Owner Spotlight Kid’s Caboose

Our latest Store Owner Spotlight has a razor sharp focus on children’s retail and apparel. They keep their customers coming back year after year by continuing to offer great service, fun activities and eye-catching window displays. Get on board and take a ride with us to explore the wonderful world of Kid’s Caboose.


The Business

Kid’s Caboose is a resale clothing store that focuses on children’s apparel. They offer clothing from infants to juniors. They also carry an assortment of maternity wear for mothers to be. Their line of products also includes new and used children’s toys. The store is located in downtown Moberly Missouri, a city in the North-Central part of the state. In July they will have be celebrating their 10th year of business success. Owner Susan Hall is the proud owner of the Kid’s Caboose and is excited about her store and its beginnings.

What factors led you to decide to open a retail store/website?

“At the time I opened the store, I had worked in the banking field for over 30 years. I was burned out with a capital B!  I needed some color in my life and banking is very black and white. That’s why I opened a children’s store. By adding the color, I was able to work nine more years in banking until I could reach my retirement age.  Banking has a lot of aspects of selling to it, so I knew how to deal with customers. My degree was in Business Management. I am very organized and always had huge personal annual yard sales. People who came to my sales would comment how I had everything organized like a department store! Opening a retail store was not a big stretch for me.”

The Store

Kid’s Caboose has a fun train motif that starts on the outside of the building and continues inside the retail space. Moberly has a rich history with the railroad system and this plays nicely into that history. They have a large selection of clothing that is merchandised on clothing rail systems, round racks and other types of free standing clothing racks. The toys and retail sections are organized and well stocked. The wall colors feature rich primary tones of red, yellow and blue. Obviously, these are great colors that are attractive to children and adults alike. They have a beautiful, one-of-a-kind train caboose where children are encouraged to play as their parents shop.


What was your design strategy when you put your store together?

“Going with the railroad theme allowed lots of creative decorating.  The first thing we wanted for the children’s store was a play area.  So, we built a caboose and put some toys and books inside.”

What inspired the direction of the look of your store?

“For our hanging items, we went with outrigger racks along the walls with floor racks in the center.  This allows us to add or subtract racks and move them around as inventory fluctuates and seasons change.  Our location came with the check-out counter in the center and some built-in tiered shelving along the walls, which we have utilized for shoes and toy display.  The store also already had a lot of peg-board on the walls, which we utilize.  We also purchased the majority of our clear plastic re-usable hangers from Store Supply.”

What type of packaging do you use for your customer purchases and why?

“From day one we’ve used red T-shirt plastic bags. They are a good size and the red color goes along with the red caboose theme.  I love driving down our street on the way to the store and seeing those red bags on the arms of pedestrians who have just made a purchase at my business.”

What are some features/special events that you do at your store to set yourself apart from other retailers?

“We are a part of our downtown association and participate with them on all their events. I do some fun things on my own, too. We have drawings for prize baskets or gift certificates. That’s a great way to get contact information from people. Then I can snail mail or email information to them. We’ve had a few art contests for kids. Last year at Easter we had a Peeps diorama contest.  We had a pumpkin decorating contest at Halloween (not carving just decorating). This year when I decorated our window for Easter, I put lots and lots of bunnies in among the mannequins. There were stuffed bunnies, paper, felt, ceramic, large and small. People counted the bunnies and submitted their guess. Getting the correct count was much harder than I thought it would be. The guesses were all over the board, but we had a winner!  Decorating my store windows is my favorite thing to do.”

What advice if any would you give others seeking to open a retail business that you have benefited from?

Susan’s advice is some of the best advice about business and what it takes to succeed.

“Do your research. Visit stores similar to the type you want your store to be.  Make notes after you get back to the car of things you liked and didn’t like.  Anytime you are traveling, take time to visit your peers. Make a business plan. Join a business organization, either Chamber of Commerce, Main Street, or even an organized strip mall group. I also belong to The National Association of Resale and Thrift Stores.”

“Start small and grow. When we first opened, we were only open 14 hours per week on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. As people started to discover us, we just kept increasing the hours that my husband and I could work and still maintain our “regular jobs”.  Finally we hired someone part-time and expanded the hours even more. Check the store hours of the businesses around you.  If they open at 9 a.m., you should too.  If they are open later one or two nights a week, you should too.  But, remember that it is easier to extend your hours than to shorten them.  Never close before closing time!  That one person who pulls up in front of your store at ten minutes until closing could be your biggest sale of the day. If you went home early, bummer!”

“Don’t think that you’ll get to just work the hours that your store is open.  There is lots of behind-the-scenes stuff that must be dealt with.  When I go in on a Sunday to catch up, I look up and down my street and see the cars of my fellow store owners parked in front of their businesses, too.  The store owners who are not coming in extra hours are the ones who are not successful.  Lots of businesses come and go and it’s pretty easy to predict.”

If you are interested in being featured in our Store Owner Spotlight, please email us at

Kids Caboose
413 West Reed
Moberly, MO 65270



Update Your Spring Looks With Our Jewelry Displays

April 1st, 2016

Update Your Spring Looks With Our Jewelry Displays

jewelry displays for blog

Now that winter has ended, spring has come into view. Spring is the perfect time to introduce new jewelry looks. In doing so, it is also a great time to update your jewelry displays. We have a great selection of styles, shapes and colors to choose from.

We have added brand new 18” necklace displays by request from our customers. These displays allow for the layering of necklaces that will really give your jewelry a professional look. The displays feature an adjustable back and weighted base. We offer four finishes that complement our existing collections in Linen, Black Leatherette, White Leatherette and Black Velvet.

jewelry displays dual

We have our current collection of jewelry boxes in unique patterns exclusive to Store Supply Warehouse. Our cotton filled designer jewelry boxes feature 8 patterns available in 3 different sizes. These coordinate beautifully with our Boutique Collection of bags and packaging. Try mixing and matching our silver metal displays by changing out the accent gems. We have four colors to choose from that range in price from $.65 to $1.00 per set. These work well by adding a touch of bling and sophistication to your displays.

Store Owner Spotlight Carousel Horse

March 14th, 2016

Store Owner Spotlight Carousel Horse

Our latest retail store is all about celebrating the lives of horse lovers, riders and owners. Horses are an essential part of everyday life for many people who enjoy them. When you arrive to Carousel Horse the outside looks like a typical barn but once inside you are transported into the world of horse enthusiasts. We are going to take a journey into that life as we visit Carousel Horse our latest Store Owner Spotlight.


The Business

Carousel Horse is an equestrian boutique located in the center of Western Pennsylvania Horse Country just outside of historic Saxonburg. At Carousel Horse you will find all sorts of products from tack (domesticated horse equipment) to clothing, accessories and home décor that celebrate equestrian style. The business started online and has continued for the last 8 years. Within the last 3 months Carousel Horse opened as a brick and mortar retail store. The store began with a love of horses and has become the go-to destination for horse lovers all over.

Do you have a background in retail? If not, what is your employment background? Please explain

 “I have a bachelor’s degree in business and worked in purchasing for most of my career. I’ve also ridden for 20 years and wanted something that could combine my knowledge of small business and my passion for horses. I have a great team of enthusiastic employees, some of which have worked in retail merchandising, but all are also riders and horse owners. “

What factors led you to decide to open a retail store/website?

“When my first son was born, I wanted to have a small business I could work at and also raise my kids.”

The Store

The front of the store looks like a barn that features traditional themes you would find on a barn at a typical farm. Once inside you are transformed into a retail space that is well merchandised and stylish. The store offers a put together mix of antique and contemporary. There are beautiful barn doors that tie into the space to create a rustic environment. There is plenty of space to move through where product and accessories are placed on 4 way clothing racks and rustic round wood spindles. There is a great use of space along the walls as product is well displayed in framed slatwall on faceouts and peghooks.

What inspired the direction of the look of your store?

“Both myself and my merchandiser both love antiques and that rustic barn wood look. We also love to salvage and re-purpose.”

What are some features/special events that you do at your store to set yourself apart from other retailers?

“We like to do fun promotions that customers can participate in like our Elf on the Shelf during Christmas. Not only does it bring people in for discounts, but they are also engaged and have a lot of fun looking through the store for our hidden elves.”

What advice if any would you give others seeking to open a retail business that you have benefited from?

“When hiring, look for people that share your passion. Anyone can be trained, but it’s the attitude and enthusiasm of your employees that will make your business a success.”



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The Carousel Horse
205 Neupert Rd
Cabot, PA 16023
Instagram: @carouselhorsetack 
Twitter: @carouselhorsetack