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Mapel Boutique, Wishbone Home & Design excited to introduce new downtown spots

COURTESY PHOTO: KIM NILLES  - Wishbone Home & Designs new location at Lake View Village offers everything from furniture to lighting, art and other gift items. The Lake View Village business community has two new storefronts — one of which just opened its doors this morning.

Mapel Boutique, which is new to the Lake Oswego community, opened today, while Wishbone Home & Design — formerly located on B Avenue — relocated to Lake View Village Aug. 1. Gramor Development Inc. announced the new tenants in a press release Sept. 13.

Lake View Village is located in downtown Lake Oswego at the intersection of State Street and A Avenue.

"I love seeing local entrepreneurs that want to do business at Lake View Village because it is such a community hub," Gramor President Barry Cain said in the release. "The addition of Wishbone and Mapel just adds to the already bustling nature at the Village and we're excited that visitors can now support these two businesses."

Mapel Boutique

After nine years at Bridgeport Village in Tigard, Mapel Boutique owner Staci Stevens Barnes found herself at a crossroads.

"We really couldn't do our business there anymore," Stevens Barnes said. "It wasn't a big enough space for us — we had outgrown it. We couldn't process web orders, we didn't really have a stock room, couldn't receive products, couldn't have meetings.

"We were kind of looking at, 'OK, do we commit to another five-year lease when we really can't do the things we need to do to grow our business here?'" COURTESY PHOTO: STACI STEVENS BARNES  - Mapel Boutique, which emphasizes a personal touch with its customers, is celebrating its grand opening at Lake View Village Thursday.

It was an easy decision once Stevens Barnes and her store managers discovered Lake View Village. The clothing store describes itself as "your local boutique," and Lake View — as well as the Lake Oswego community itself — fit that mantra perfectly.

"All of our other stores (in Portland and West Linn, with another on the way in Sherwood) are literally in neighborhoods — like they're next to a grocery store, right where everyone has to go to do the day-to-day things like dry cleaning and (other) errands," Stevens Barnes said. "So we kind of felt like it was time to transition out of a commercial mall and shopping center, and be more local-themed."

That hyper-local feel extends to Mapel's ideas about customer service.

"We really want our customers to feel like they know us, they're part of our brand, they're connected to us," Stevens Barnes said. "It's not uncommon for a customer to come in and ask us a question like, 'How did that event go?' or for us to ask them, 'How was that trip that you took?' That just seems to happen organically."

Customers can find that personal touch even when they can't get to the store. Mapel offers a "virtual styling service" that's operated daily by a team member.

"The idea is we have a dedicated phone line and dedicated team member that manages that, and anybody can text this phone and say, 'I just found out I have to go on this trip and I need a dress and at least one accessory,' or whatever they need," Stevens Barnes said. "We work with them via phone, so that could be FaceTime, text message, to support whatever their needs are."

As the store celebrates its grand opening today, Stevens Barnes said she and the rest of the team are thrilled to be part of Lake Oswego.

"We spent some time here just hanging out before we committed to this space, and just kind of getting a sense for the people and the energy and the businesses here," she said. "We all felt that, yes, this is a good transition for us."

Learn more at Mapel's website.

Wishbone Home & Design

Kim Nilles only moved her business about a block over, but since re-opening Aug. 1 she's found her customer base expanding significantly.

"It's been interesting how many people never heard of us before," Nilles said. "Not like they hadn't been in — they just hadn't heard of us before. So a lot more new customers, new faces."

It was a busy summer for Wishbone, which first opened in Lake Oswego about five years ago. The business, which features furniture, lighting, accessories, art and other gift items while also offering off-site interior design consultations, took part in its first Street of Dreams around the same time of the move.

"It's a lot of work, but it was good," Nilles said. "We got voted Best Interior Design from the realtors, so we got some good accolades from it."

Nilles said Wishbone had grown to a point where it could benefit from a change of scenery.

"We grew our business over (on B Avenue)," she said. "We started off kind of slow and began to grow, and this was the right time for us to move over here in a beautiful setting with lots of action and activity in this area."

Wishbone's new storefront is chock full of a variety of items — all expertly arranged, of course — and Nilles said if you don't find exactly what you're looking for, don't fret.

"We can source a lot of items too," she said. "There's a wide range that we can provide."

Prices vary widely as well.

"Not everything in your house has to be expensive," Nilles said.

Learn more at Wishbone's website.

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