GRANITE FALLS — Melissa Syring of Granite Falls hated to see her former photography studio at 709 Prentice Street in Granite Falls standing empty, so she has opened an old-fashioned mom and pop store in it.
“With my photography business going digital, I still shoot on location, but wanted to put something unique in the building,” she said. “There’s over 3,000 square feet, and it’s good to be able to utilize it.”
Syring said there are five vendors who rotate work shifts and rotate Saturday hours. The Falls Boutique is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Syring said they have the best vendors who display at Falls Boutique.
“They have the best attitudes,” she said. “Everyone want to see each other succeed. Before we sell something new, we make sure it’s not the exact same thing as another business in town offers.”
“I have eclectic things in the store,” Syring added. “I want it to feel like an extension of your home where you walk in and you immediately feel at home. And we ask customer who come in what one line they would love to see here. We also get suggestions on our Facebook page. We will launch a website in a few weeks as well.”
Near the front door are old-fashioned gumball and candy machines. They stand next to a baker’s rack with Syring’s mother’s canned pie filling, apple butter and other preserves. Her mother, Jean Grothen, is from Parkier’s Prairie.
Moving in toward the checkout counter, one looks up to see lights strung up on an antique ladder hanging horizontally from the ceiling. Kids pocket toys, charms and cupcake-shaped erasers are displayed near the till as well as a table top rack of greeting cards. behind you, next to the first baker’s rack is another shelving unit a variety of gift items including a few wall plaques on the top shelf. More wall hangings are artfully displayed throughout the store.
Stationery and coloring books in the corner lead the eye to the next room.
The double-wide door opens to a large candy table. There are jars and jars of a variety of hard candy, just like Olsen’s Mercantile in Walnut Grove back in the day. It includes several styles of old-fashioned candy.
Syring’s sister, Kristin Canatsey also of Granite Falls, makes the old-fashioned candy.
To each side of the candy table and beyond, there are a plethora of displays with an even greater variety of wares. Part of the boutique’s collection includes printed T-shirts and baseball caps, handmade soaps, jewelry, tank tops, floppy hats and so much more.
“We’ll be adding on, too, within a month or so,” Syring said. “We’re planning on getting a clawfoot tub in here for the bath soap display.”
Syring added that her husband, David, helps with the odd jobs and setting up displays.
“We’re getting something new in almost every day,” she said. “By switching up our offerings, that’s how we keep people coming in daily — to see what’s new.”
Last-minute gifts is one of their biggest sellers, Syring said.
“It makes me so happy to be able to help someone get a quick gift on their lunch break,” she said. “Our (merchandise) bags are gift bags and by adding some tissue paper, their gift is ready to go. It’s nice to fill those needs.”
Looking forward, Syring said she also plans to add old-fashioned, glass-bottled pop, like sarsaparilla and other name-brand sodas — to go along with the old-fashioned candy, she said.
Falls Boutique opened on April 25 and had a grand opening on May 1.
Having once been a movie theater, the Falls Boutique store front sports a lighted marquee which will have its sign changed from Frozen in Time to Falls Boutique within a couple of weeks, Syring said. Then customers will have no trouble locating it.