Michelle Moore didn’t open Blessings Boutique with the intention of being a retail shop.
The clothing and accessory store opened in August at 1018 W. St. Maartens Drive, on the first floor of American Business & Technology University.
“I had the intention that I really needed a project or a hobby, something positive to focus on,” Moore said.
In June 2017, Moore and her husband lost their 25-year-old son A.J. Moore to cancer.
“It may sound a little strange that I opened a business to help me through grief but that’s exactly what I did and it’s done exactly that,” she said.
Moore initially opened Blessings Boutique in a smaller space of the building and operated it on a part-time basis. Her customer base grew, allowing her to become full time.
The former butler’s pantry of the Wyeth estate offers unique built-ins and swinging doors for her boutique.
The store is open noon to 6 p.m. Wednesday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday but Moore hosts online sales via social media on the two days she’s not open in her physical store.
“I think women like to shop different ways. So I’m trying to capture both the ‘I must try it on’ customer and the ladies that are so busy that in the evenings they just want to pick up their phone and scroll through a Facebook group and say, ‘hey, that’s really cute I think I’ll try that.”
When buying items for her shop, Moore focuses on three things: comfort, versatility and affordability. Most of her pieces range from $20 to $40 with a side room, entitled the Treasure Room, with items under $20.
The pastor’s wife spent more than a decade in corporate sales but the path to entrepreneurship was a rough one. Her husband is the pastor at St. Paul Lutheran Church.
Moore’s son was in treatment for 10 months and they even moved to Minnesota to be close to the Mayo Clinic. And people often wonder why Moore chose to sell clothing, of all things.
“The one thing I noticed right away that there were so many women at the hospital ... it’s such a stressful traumatic experience to even be there and be the caregiver but they pretty much looked a wreck,” she said. “I don’t mean that in a judgmental way.”
In the situation, Moore realized that there was very little she could control.
“One of the things that I could control, that actually made me feel better, was my appearance,” she said. “Watching him seek different treatments for his cancer ... it made me feel like I could be stronger for him if I felt put together myself.”
Opening Blessings was something she needed for her. And it was never intended to be a ministry but women do talk to her. She said it has helped her reach out to other women in the community.
“It’s become this group of women who can come here and really talk to each other and interact, “ she said. “It’s amazing to watch the customers help each other shop. They all compliment each other and lift each other up everyday.”
She believes clothing can become inspirational. Moore said that if she wakes up in a bad mood, she puts on something with a lot of color.
“It’s hard to be in a bad mood with a bright pink on,” she said.