New fashion for downtown

Mainstream Boutique, Minot’s newest downtown business, is bringing a fresh look to both women’s fashion and the old Woolworth building at the corner of Central and Main.

Owner Pam Karpenko said she senses the community is ready for something creative and different, and that’s what she has been working to provide in the weeks spent remodeling and preparing for the opening Friday at 10 a.m.

Karpenko, who also owns CleanTech in Minot, said she wanted to bring another business to Minot that she felt would add to the community.

“I am passionate about making a difference in our community. With my other business, I feel we do that when we help people with their emergencies, and this one I feel like we can make a difference in women’s lives by enhancing their own style and letting them create their own look. I think they will find something that allows them to be a lot more creative in their fashion and their style,” she said.

Stocked with both winter and spring lines, the shop features a variety of clothing, from dresses to weekend tops. The clothing includes both business and casual, with items that can go from one to the other. Gift certificates also are available.

The Minot franchise is the third Mainstream Boutique in North Dakota. Others are in Fargo and Bismarck.

Mainstream Boutique got its start in Apple Valley, Minn. It is in the process of moving its headquarters to Bloomington, Minn.

Chief executive officer Marie DeNicola, who has been in Minot this week to assist with preparations, said her company has been seeing rapid growth in recent years. Founded in 1991, the company began opening franchises in 1998. There now are 40 shops in about 12 states.

“I love what she’s done here. I am so proud of it,” DeNicola said of Karpenko’s shop. “We want them to be unique and different, just like customers are unique and different.”

Karpenko’s said the company’s flexibility in allowing its franchise holders to express their individuality was an influence in her choice of Mainstream Boutique. Karpenko was able to stock her store herself from the company’s clothing lines, which she called unique, trendy and affordable.

Having visited Mainstream Boutique in other locations, Karpenko already knew the styles and atmosphere were what she wanted in her shop.

“I was just really seeking a fun, unique shopping experience,” she said.

The company’s only request was that she make use of the company’s color, purple, which Karpenko incorporated by painting a purple accent wall.

Karpenko said an informal conversation last September with Chris Lindbo, owner of the former Woolworth building, led to the business finding a location. A portion of the building’s main floor had been remodeled into apartments, and Lindbo moved quickly to gut the space and install new display windows, giving Karpenko an opportunity to have her shop open only a few months later.

“I love the feel of downtown,” Karpenko said. “It’s a very special place. It kind of has it’s own vibe, and it’s a lot of fun to be down here. The boutique shop is the right fit for downtown.”

Karpenko will be managing the store with the help of several part-time employees. Store hours are Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., with extended hours on Thursday to 8 p.m. Saturday hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

The shop can be found on Facebook at Minot Mainstream Boutique. People also can contact the shop at 837-7711.