by Ardeana Hamlin
of The Weekly Staff
What began as a home-based purse party business six years, has grown into Generations Boutique at 153 State St. in Brewer. The boutique is owned and operated by sisters Roxanne Noddin of Kenduskeag and Crystal Jones of Eddington,
“We started with 15 purses and wallets,” Noddin recalled, smiling at the memory of their business beginnings. “We started it for the fun of it.” Soon, friends and family were booking parties. Not long after that, they decided to open a shop in Eddington. When they outgrew that location, they moved to their current location, in the old Footman’s Dairy building. But, they quickly outgrew the space too, Noddin said, and opted for a larger suite of rooms in the same building.
Their boutique offers new and recycled clothing in sizes from junior to plus, including brand name items, purses and accessories, home decor and locally crafted items. In February, they added painting parties where customers can create their own artwork on canvas using Noddin’s designs or pre-packaged designs, working on their own, step by step, or under Noddin’s direction. Customers’ favorite designs include love birds, a tree of life and lupines, all designed by Noddin. The painting classes are open to those of any age. No experience with art is needed.
“We specialize in being trendy, thrifty and artsy — it’s a unique combination. Magical. It works,”
said Noddin, who has a 26-year background in the florist profession. Color, design and how to create attractive and eye-catching shapes, and other principles of art inherent in florist work, are skills she draws on when conducting the painting classes and in the daily work of displaying merchandise, pulling together outfits to photograph and post on the store’s Facebook page, and arranging store merchandise in appealing ways.
Jones, who has a 20-year background in social work, said she is a people person. “I love what I do and have fun with it. I have a lot of energy,” she said.
Noddin pointed out that her sister also has business know-how, is resourceful and knows a lot of people, many of whom are store customers.
Both women said they love being able to implement their ideas to make their business a welcoming and successful place.
Clearly, the combination of their skills and talents is working. Their boutique, consisting of two large and several smaller rooms, is usually busy with a steady stream of customers.
“I love these girls,” said customer Joan Smith, owner of a Curves studio in the same building. “I drop by every afternoon to look things in neon colors, glittery things. They have good sales, I always find something,” she said.
Clothing prices at the boutique range from $1.99 to $9.99, with the average price being $4.99. A discount closet offers items for 99 cents.
Generations Boutique has nearly 6,000 Facebook friends, some of whom see the photos of outfits put together by Noddin and Jones, and who order that outfit online. Noddin and Jones said they ship items throughout the United States. In-store, they are more than happy to help a customer pull together a trendy look for any occasion. They also will hold items, at no charge, for two days. And almost weekly the boutique offers giveaways on its Facebook page.
“We have done nothing by grow for the past six years,” Noddin said. “We learn something new every day.”
Generations Boutique hours are 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday. For information, call the store at 989-9003, find it on Facebook or go to generationsbrewer.com.