CHICOPEE, Mass. (WWLP) – An online boutique celebrated opening its first brick and mortar store in Chicopee Thursday night.
In 2018, Melaney and Brandon Houle launched Lotus and Compass Inc., an online boutique. The shop quickly started gathering a following, so Melaney, a Chicopee native, decided to make the jump from just online sales, to a brick and mortar store on Exchange Street.
“In the last year or two as more small businesses have started to occupy space here when you have entrepreneurs who bring that passion and that zest, it’s contagious, it spreads,” said Melaney Houle.
Melaney calls the store’s look everyday chic for the modern woman. Her husband, Brandon, left his nearly two decades of work in retail management to co-manage their online boutique.
But with big box stores like Sears having to shutter their doors, he said there’s something about small business that allows them to survive and thrive.
“I think you get a much more person to person feel with a smaller business,” Brandon said. “You’re able to get much better customer service.”
The city of Chicopee is stepping in to make sure small businesses have a real shot at success. Lotus and Compass opened inside of one of the Chicopee Chamber of Commerce “accelerator spaces” in Chicopee Center.
“For businesses that want to take businesses out of their garage, or in our case, the side room in our house, and have a storefront and have a place for customers to come,” said Melanie. “They offer these spaces at an affordable rate, and it’s month to month so there is minimal risk to get started. It’s been wonderful for us.”
Bringing the chic to Chicopee Center, you can find Lotus and Compass at 264 Exchange Street.