New business on the block
Rustic Hideaway Boutique joins active downtown retail location
MARSHALL — Sarah Kesteloot’s goal to have her own retail business ties in perfectly with the expansion of business activity on North Third Street in downtown Marshall.
Kesteloot opened Rustic Hideaway Boutique June 1 as the latest of several successful neighboring business startups in the past year.
She joins other business owners such as Jen Griebel of Nettie’s decor and gift shop, Vanessa Torke of Nessa’s Naturals skin care, bath and beauty products, and Amanda Pudil of Evolution of Beauty.
“Usually one of the basics of starting a business in a rural area is the advantage of being on Main,” Kesteloot said. “Third Street is unique. I’m part of a nice group of businesses, and all of them seem to complement each other. Together we give people more of a reason to shop in downtown Marshall.”
Kesteloot decided to go into business full time at her own retail location after prior work experience at the Heritage Pointe Assisted Living Center in Marshall and then with the U.S. Postal Service at the post office in Milroy. She and her husband, Dru, live several miles east of Marshall. Sarah is from Lynd and graduated from RTR High School.
She got a start in retailing through her crafting talent for homemade custom signs. She began to grow her business activity by having a booth at craft fairs and through online sales.
She also took an interest in selling other kinds of products. She’s stayed focused on rustic items that reflect rural America, branching out on the theme toward sale items like clothing, decor and accessories.
This spring she and Dru decided that 2019 would be the right time to take the next step by opening a full-sized downtown retail store.
“I’ve always wanted to own this kind of shop,” Sarah said. “It got to the point where it felt like now’s the time. Starting a business made me nervous at first, like I expected, but now I’m thankful we went ahead with it. We’ve had a very good start.”
Looking ahead to additional opportunities, she said her store space is well-suited to expansion. One possibility for the near future is to use the back portion as a sign-making area that could include classes for people interested in doing their own projects.
Timing was equally important for other recent Third Street start-ups. Griebel, Torke and Pudil all said it corresponded to when their children had gotten old enough to make it possible for them to balance a full-time business with family obligations.
Griebel spent 20 years of her career as an elementary school teacher at ECHO Charter School and in Milroy. Originally from Pipestone, she has lived in Marshall since 1992.
Along with merchandise that she buys from wholesale vendors, she markets her own “reimagined” creations. They involve ways of turning everyday items into interesting gifts and decor, often by combining two or more of them into a retail product.
“I love decorating, and enjoy it whenever I have something that a customer likes,” Griebel said. “Third Street seemed like a good location. It’s gotten even better with other new businesses.”
Torke, originally from Granite Falls and a graduate of Yellow Medicine East High School, was a stay-at-home mom for 17 years and also got a start in skin care and beauty product sales. She and her husband, Chad, live near Hanley Falls and have three children.
“I reached a point in my life where it seemed like now or never as far as having my own business,” Torke said. “I knew that if I decided to go ahead with it, I’d choose Marshall as my location. It’s worked out very well. I’ve found that it comes down to perseverance, hard work, and timing.”
One of the things she enjoys most is getting to know customers, to the point of remembering things they’ve mentioned about work, relatives or hobbies when they come back as repeat business.
Pudil built on her professional background in cosmetology and massage therapy. She was born in Germany, graduated from Fairmont High School, and worked in the Twin Cities before deciding to specialize in skin care consulting, facials, waxing and makeup. Her most recent work location prior to starting Evolution of Beauty was Lavish Salon in Echo.
“My interest goes back to when my mom first let me read magazine articles about makeup,” Pudil said. “That’s how everybody learns. I liked sharing information about it with others, and thought at that point it could be a good choice for my career.”
Pudil said her business location is conveniently located near her home in Lynd, which helps for balancing work and family activities with her children.
She added that her business has the same basic customer service goals as neighboring stores, that of encouraging customers to treat themselves to things they like and that help in having a positive outlook.
Marshall Area Chamber of Commerce President Brad Gruhot said business and nonprofit activity on North Third Street is a valuable part of making the downtown area more than just one long business block centered on Main Street.
Among the other activities on North Third Street is the Ebenezer Tienda de Ropa clothing store which expanded to a bigger location, a longstanding hair styling business, two art galleries, and the Lyon County Museum at the West Lyon Street corner.
“We’ve had very good business activity and visitor traffic on Third,” Gruhot said. “With a group of businesses and attractions, there’s more of a reason for people to shop downtown.”