The F&C One-question interview with Lainey LaRue. Lainey became the owner of Lolo Boutique in early January 2015. This small shop on Second Avenue in downtown Spokane specializes in women’s clothing, bath/skin products, jewelry, and goods for your home.
F&C: By becoming the new owner of Lolo, you're rooting yourself and your venture in downtown Spokane. Why Spokane, and in your opinion how can retail apparel be better in our city?
Lainey: The most striking thing to me about Spokane is the friendly, small-town feel. For a mid-sized city, the sense of community here is really quite strong. I must admit, I’m a transplant—but it’s been long enough that this place is home now (I relocated here in 2002 from West Chester, Pennsylvania). Even with that small-town vibe, I see such growth here in the establishment and support of small, unique businesses. It has always been my dream to own a boutique, and I take great pride in being a woman business owner. It’s a perfect fit to be able to acquire Lolo—an established retail space—and use my own sensibility and style to really make it my own.
As for my vision for retail apparel in Spokane, my main goal has been to involve as many women as I can: not just one age or income level. Our items are not brands you can pick up at any department store, and many of them are made in the USA. While we do have high-end pieces, we maintain a nice range of affordable options. And with the colors, patterns, and variety we’ve been introducing, it is exciting to see women of all ages finding that perfect piece—you know: that go-to item that just makes you feel great when you wear it.
As I travel around and visit larger cities, it confirms that what we’re doing is at the leading edge of boutique women’s clothing. But the confirmation that means more to me is the outpouring of nice feedback I’m getting from customers, vendors, and the business community. It’s a priority for me to make sure Lolo is very involved in community efforts and organizations—this is our city, and that connectedness is the thing that drew me into this vocation to begin with.
photos: Dan Cooley of the Spokesman-Review