Just 18 months after first opening Posh on Commerce in Longview, Michelle Philbrook has moved her clothing boutique into CAPtured Treasures’ former location, more than doubling the space for her growing business.
The new location at 1262 Commerce Ave. opened on April 10 and Philbrook said foot traffic has already doubled. While the recent sunny weather may be bringing more people downtown, Philbrook said the prominent corner lot has also dramatically improved the store’s visibility.
“A lot of people have said in the past that they’ve heard of Posh on Commerce from friends or neighbors, but when they drove downtown, they could never see (the store),” she said. “Now they say they can see me right away.”
Posh on Commerce first opened in October 2016 with 1,100 square feet in 1314 Commerce Ave. Since that time, Philbrook says business has been “incredible.”
But the space was cramped and had limited storefront windows. When she learned that CAPtured Treasures was moving across the street, Philbrook said she couldn’t pass up the opportunity to upgrade to the 2,500-square-foot location. She declined to say how much she has invested in the new space, but said it was double that of her first location.
Philbrook, 43, said the extra space now allows her to display merchandise in a way that doesn’t overcrowd and overwhelm customers. The mid-century modern layout makes bright clothing and gifts stand out against a minimalist store design. Two walls of floor-to-ceiling windows allow sunlight to glint across hardwood floors, and tables of various sizes and shapes teem with candles, jewelry and fresh bouquets of flowers from Dapper Dandelion.
“It’s a rendition of downtown Seattle. It’s like Pike Place without the fresh seafood,” Philbrook said with a grin.
The new space also includes a 400-square-foot event space, called the Chandelier Room, is named for two ornate hanging lights. Starting May 1, customers can rent the space for bridal parties, baby showers, birthday parties, Mother’s Day activities and other social gatherings.
Philbrook said she hopes the event room will bring more people downtown, where they can spend the day at other businesses.
“It would be great to have more shops (downtown) so they can make a day out of it, whether they go and have burgers at Mill City Grill, and then they can shop for a bit and then go grab a glass of wine at J Squared Barrel House,” she said. “That’s what we would really like to see happen with downtown.”
She added that much of her success is due to a community that values shopping locally, which is why she felt it was important to keep her business in downtown Longview.
“I think people are now seeing the benefits that come with shopping local,” she said. “We hire people that are local, our taxes stay local and people like to talk to people they know are in the community.”
Kait & Stella, a children’s clothing boutique that operated within Posh on Commerce, also moved to the new location and now has twice the space. The Outfitter, a men’s clothing store that was also in the old Posh on Commerce space, is expected to open its own store in downtown Longview soon.
Continued success depends on constant communication with customers, she said.
“Listening to what people want is the biggest thing,” she said. “(Paying attention) to what they want to see and what we don’t have that they want: that’s how you grow.”