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The Scarlet & Black

Shedding light on She Shed: Grinnell’s new clothing boutique

Regene Anderson behind the counter. By Andrew Tucker

Regene Anderson has lived in Grinnell for the last 32 years. This fall she made the decision to change careers and realize her dream of opening a boutique in her hometown, and with the support of Anderson’s family and friends, the doors of the She Shed Boutique opened to community members on Oct. 8.

While Anderson has always loved fashion, this is her first time opening a small business. For the last 27 years she worked as a safety manager, dealing with risk and safety analysis as well as workers’ compensation. While setting up the boutique, Anderson was still working at her job in safety management at John Deere, but once She Shed opened she realized that she would not be able to do both long term, and eventually she gave her two weeks’ notice to John Deere.

Anderson decided to open a store this fall because she wanted to provide Grinnell with another local shopping option in time for the holiday season. She thought that many Grinnell residents wouldn’t want to have to leave town to go shopping in big cities such as Des Moines, especially during the current COVID-19 pandemic.

According to Anderson, the boutique’s success has been due in large part to the help she has received from her family. Anderson’s daughters-in-law, Megan and Miranda, are both heavily involved with the business, working at the store whenever they can, and her 80-year-old mother has even come into the store to help ring customers up.

Anderson’s sons, Nathaniel and Landen, also helped turn her dream of a boutique store into a reality, hanging lights and building the dressing rooms. They even helped name the store; as fans of hunting and fishing, her sons jokingly suggested that she name the boutique “Nate and Landen’s Bait and Tackle and Mom’s She Shed.” Anderson laughed, but in the end “She Shed” stuck.

All of the items in the store have been carefully chosen by Anderson at clothing trade shows around the country, the latest of which Anderson traveled to in Dallas, Texas at the end of October. Anderson said that she wants to provide customers with affordable, good quality clothing that she herself would love to wear.

“I am 52 years old, so I don’t want to dress like I’m a grandmother, but I am one. … I also don’t want to dress like I’m 16,” she said. Anderson said that she wants to help her customers, “of all ages and sizes,” find pieces that they love.

The store carries primarily women’s clothing, including plus sizes, as well as a few options for men and children. Currently in preparation for the holiday season, the store is accumulating a variety of Christmas sweaters and sparkly New Year’s outfits.

With regards to health and safety, Anderson is trying to mitigate the risk of community spread for her customers. She Shed Boutique was set up with social distancing in mind and has ample space for customers to walk around comfortably without coming into close contact. Masks and hand sanitizer are provided at the door. Additionally, the masked employees make sure to sanitize their hands between transactions and use UV lights to sanitize clothing items, which has been proven to reduce the spread of COVID-19.

With the help of Anderson’s daughter-in-law, Megan, She Shed Boutique is active on Instagram and Facebook. Every Monday at 7:30 p.m. the store has a Facebook Live event where women model the boutique’s newest clothes. Anderson also plans to have a website up and running by next week so that customers can order products to be shipped to their homes.

Anderson said that She Shed has been getting many direct messages and calls in response to their social media presence, asking her to send or hold items. The store itself has also been busy with in-person shoppers.

Anderson said she is in awe of the community’s response to her boutique, even after such a tumultuous year. “I wasn’t for sure, you know with COVID. The whole world is so crazy right now. But we have had a great turn out. I couldn’t be more blessed!”

She Shed is located on 930 West St, behind the Pioneer Bookshop.

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