Big city style in harbor countryPublished 8:15pm Thursday, June 16, 2011
By KATIE ROHMAN
Lana Hawkins saw opportunity in St. Joseph when she visited its downtown.
“It’s like a hidden gem,” said Hawkins, the owner of Lana’s Couture in Kalamazoo and Saugatuck. “We realized there was a real need for a contemporary boutique here.
A perfect spot was available on State Street, the popular downtown shopping district that attracts both locals and tourists. The former location of Bloomie’s, which moved to another space downtown, was available.
“We were kind of looking for a location for another store,” she said. “We were thinking of another harbor town.”
Hawkins opened Lana’s Couture in the beginning of May, and has seen a very positive response from customers to her lines of designer denim, like True Religion and 7 for All Mankind, and other brands difficult to find locally.
“People are thrilled with the designer denim,” Hawkins said. “Some of the labels we offer people are loving. Some of the brands people can only get in Chicago and Detroit.
“We’re trying to be really respectful of what other people are carrying,” she added.
Lana’s specializes in denim, but also offers business and casual wear and evening attire in brands like Free People and Hard Tail; accessories like vintage jewelry, purses and hats; home decor; and shoes, including a wide selection of sandals.
The store carries sizes from 0 to 18, including missy styles in brands like Oprah’s favorite, Not Your Daughter’s Jeans.
Hawkins describes her boutique’s style as “fresh, hip and happening.”
“We try to cover a broad customer base,” she added.
Hawkins, a southern Illinois native who also moonlights as a jazz singer, opened the first boutique in Kalamazoo in 2004 after teaching school for five years.
“I jumped in with both feet and did it,” she said.
She opened her second store in Saugatuck in the spring of 2010.
“It’s fun. It’s a challenge to find new locations,” Hawkins said. “St. Joe’s been a huge success story.
“We’re really optimistic. I can’t say enough good things about the city and the people,” she said.
Lana’s Couture is located at 400 State St., at the corner of State and Broad streets. It is open 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Visit the boutique online at www.lanasfashionboutique.com.