Lake St. Market to open boutique, portion of proceeds to benefit charities

NILES — As the snow fell thickly outside her office window Wednesday, Lake St. Market owner Roni Albert pulled a freshly printed flyer from a pile on her office desk and proudly displayed the information advertising her latest business venture: a women’s clothing boutique.

Albert is calling the boutique “Love N that Look” and plans to sell consignment dress clothing, accessories and shoes in a corner of her Lake St. Market business, 1549 Lake St. Albert said she anticipates opening the boutique in mid-March.

Albert opened Lake St. Market in September 2017. The business has 4,500 square feet that holds a variety of upscale resale, handcrafted goods and antiques from 14 vendors. Those who patronize the business can find jewelry, hand-knit items, beauty and bath products, and estate sale items.

Albert said she came up with the idea for adding a boutique after noticing a need in the community, particularly after Sentiments, a downtown dress store, closed.

“After Sentiments closed, it was like a lightbulb went on,” Albert said. “I have all this space, let’s use it.”

Albert is already accepting clothing for consignment, buyout and donation. Items must be gently used, with no rips, tears or stains. She will not accept bridal, ball gowns or winter coats at this time. Those interested in contributing clothing must call the store to set up an appointment between 11 a.m. and 3 p.m. Wednesday to Saturday.

Consignment contributors will receive 60 percent of the sale price back on the item once it sells. Albert will offer an asking price for buyout items.

Albert is also encouraging people to donate clothing and 75 percent of the sale will go toward a charity. She is working to compile a list of charities, such as the Lions Club or a local animal shelter, for people to choose from. Customers can also suggest a charity of their choosing. Those who donate will receive a thank-you note from Lake St. Market once the item sells, detailing how much went to charity after the item sold.

Albert said she thought this would be a good way to show support to the community.

“These clubs have a need. Charities have a need,” Albert said. “I feel that this is my way of giving back.”

Offering affordable clothing that is ideal for work or a casual evening out is also a major goal that she said she hopes draws more people to the business.

“The working woman will have a place to come and take a look at what we have to offer,” Albert said. “[But] it is not just for working women. You can come here and shop and maybe find an outfit for a casual event that you want to go to and not have to spend the price you do in a mall.”

Albert also works as an estate sale agent and said she was inspired to open her own business after she ran out of room to store some of the items she was collecting.

“My husband said I really need my barns [back],” Albert said. “I said, ‘OK, find me a building.’”

Albert said they found the Lake Street building last year, which had formerly been vacant. It took several months to clean, paint and renovate the space.

In the future, Albert hopes to utilize the back portion of the building, which is 7,000 square feet, for a flea market. She said those plans are still currently in the works.

Space is also still available for other interested vendors looking to rent a booth and sell their merchandise. Lake St. Market is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday to Friday and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. For more information call the store at (269) 470-2200 or visit lakestmarket.simplesite.com.

“We are trying to build a hub out here for small businesses,” Albert said. “Lake St. Market is the name of the building, but it is made up of the businesses within. I’m just trying to fill a niche. We are going to do whatever we can to make this place grow and be a place people want to come.”

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