Laura's & Co. located at 1502 W. Sycamore on Friday, April 5, 2019. Kelly Lafferty Gerber | Kokomo Tribune
Laura's & Co. located at 1502 W. Sycamore on Friday, April 5, 2019. Kelly Lafferty Gerber | Kokomo Tribune
While driving down Sycamore Street, it is hard to miss the bright purple façade of Laura’s Boutique on the corner of Western Avenue.

Last year, the shop’s sign announced that business would be closing its doors soon due to the owner’s impending retirement. But Deana Sewell couldn’t watch Laura’s close — after all, it’s where she purchased most of her clothes. So she bought it.

Sewell, a longtime Kokomo resident, already owns Missing Piece Billing & Consulting Solutions, a billing service provider specializing in autism and behavioral health that employs about 60 people. When she heard Laura Ullery was going to close the 34-year-old business, Sewell jumped at the chance to own the high-end boutique. 

“To be honest, I didn’t want to see the community lose Laura’s,” she said. “She has always filled the need and I just couldn’t see it close.”

The business officially changed hands on Jan. 1 and was closed for much of that month for an extensive remodel. Sewell said they redid the ceiling, added lighting, painted and added new crown molding to the 1,700-square-foot space.

“I changed the name to Laura’s & Company — I just felt that (Ullery) had such a strong presence for so many years that I didn’t want to lose that customer base,” she continued.

In addition to the same customer base, Ullery still works at the shop one day a week and travels to markets with Sewell to provide her experience and insight.

Laura’s & Company carries many of the same brands as before, including Joseph Ribkoff, Not Your Daughter’s Jeans (NYDJ), Mariana Jewelry, Brighton, and Coton Colors gifts and accessories. Sewell said the boutique’s target market is women ages 40 and up, and the average price range is from $80 to $320 for items.

Sewell said she is also working with developers to create a website for the boutique, where customers will be able to make purchases online. The brick-and-mortar business location is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday.

Standards Boutique

While Standards Boutique is new, it isn’t the first trip into the fashion industry for Lisa Carney.

From 2006 to 2011, the Kokomo native owned and operated Envious Boutique in Lafayette and in Kokomo. Carney then began working as a real estate agent for The Hardie Group and decided to close her boutique business.

It wasn’t until a building on Lafountain Street became available that she thought she would open another clothing boutique.

“I thought it was a great location for a boutique and I thought I’d try it again because it’s always been a passion of mine,” Carney said.

In January 2018, Carney started planning for the new store with a clear vision in mind of exactly how she wanted the space to look, what clothes she wanted to carry and what kind of experience she wanted for her customers. She said it took a bit longer than expected to get things ready, but nevertheless, the boutique opened in late September.

The 1,000-square-foot space features not only clothing, shoes and accessories, but also a lounge area, coffee bar and fuchsia selfie wall that reads “Keep your heels, head and standards high,” a quote by Coco Channel.

“I’m all about the experience along with the fashion,” Carney said.

The style of clothing is mostly on-trend pieces in addition to timeless classics and ranges in price from $35 to $45. Sizes range from extra small to 2XL and denim sizes are from 0 to 14. 

“I always say we are for those young at heart because it’s really true,” Carney continued. “I have costumers that are in their 70’s that love the stuff, but I also have high school students that shop here too. It’s for whoever loves staying on trend and having fun with their clothing and style.”

Carney said a majority of Standards sales are in-store, but they are working to grow their online sales. In addition to being able to ship items, local customers can order pieces online to pick up in store.

Standards Boutique is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday. For more information, visit www.shopstandardsboutique.com.

Lux Boutique

After being open for 7 years on Walnut Street, Lux Boutique announced it was closing its doors in November 2018.

In a Facebook post, the owner Katie Johnson said that Lux would become an online and pop-up boutique until she could find a new store location.

Then, just last month, a new post said that Lux would be returning with a new location, new look and new arrivals. The post hinted that more information would become available in mid-April.

On Friday, Strands Salon's Facebook page announced Lux would be located on the second floor of the salon at 336 Witherspoon Drive. 

"The secret is out... Lux Boutique is now "Lux Loft!" the post said, noting the grand opening will be April 20.

Attempts to reach Johnson were unsuccessful.

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