CEDAR FALLS — The coronavirus pandemic hasn’t been kind to many Cedar Valley businesses. Yet one downtown retail shop has found a way to not only survive, but thrive.
Mack + Mav Boutique will celebrate its grand opening at a new, larger place at 100 E. Second St., Suite 106, on Saturday, according to owner Ashley Reynolds.
Her former location was off the Parkade on State Street, a little, 400 square-foot place she had simply for people to try on apparel.
“I knew I needed to move at some point,” Reynolds said. “People didn’t know I was down there. It was hidden.”
Mack + Mav began in October 2017 in Reynolds’ spare bedroom in Cedar Falls. She bought a pack of shirts — one kind of graphic t-shirt — and created a Facebook group. It sold out.
So she kept going, until shirts had spilled out of the spare bedroom into her living room. Customers told her they wanted to try on apparel before buying. In October 2019, she opened her “part-time space” on State Street.
“People were asking me if they could come to my house to try on, and I wasn’t super comfortable with that,” she said.
Business increased threefold. Then, in March, the governor ordered retail stores to close due to the pandemic.
“I was so scared when we had to close down,” she said.
Reynolds pivoted hard to online sales. To her surprise, April and May were her busiest months.
“Online has shown up tremendously through the pandemic,” she said.
It made the decision to move her store to a larger, more prominent space, just two doors down from Hurts Donuts, much easier.
The grand opening will be from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Masks are required and swag bags will be given out to the first 10 people arriving at 10 a.m. and another 10 at noon, so customers will hopefully be more spread out, she said.
Mack + Mav will still feature the young contemporary apparel customers are familiar with, while also incorporating more jewelry, shoes, bath items and other gift items.
She also sells Save the Children shirts, with proceeds going to Operation Underground Railroad, a nonprofit that assists governments worldwide to save children from human and sex trafficking, as well as the local anti-trafficking organization Friends of the Family.
“It’s just an important thing people should be aware of,” Reynolds said of the cause. “There’s a huge problem in America, and I don’t feel a lot of people know about it.”
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