Mechelle Mortenson has always had a love for shopping.
But as time went on, this mother of four grew frustrated with the fact that she had to travel great lengths in order to find her favorite brands. Fueled with a desire to make a change, Mechelle began looking into what it would take to open a boutique of her own, right in her hometown of Williston, ND. In 2016, Mechelle decided to take the leap and open Grace & Glam.
The rest is history…
“As I was at home with my kids, I found myself thinking, ‘Why can’t we have premium clothing brands here in Williston?’ and ‘Why do I have to go so far to shop?’ I started looking into what opening my own shop would entail and my thinking shifted to ‘Why not open one yourself?’ I truly felt like this was something I was supposed to be doing and my way to help grow the community of Williston.”
Grace & Glam prides itself on offering big city brands that aren’t found within a 100+ mile radius. Coupled with her mission to provide superior customer service, her retail store is unlike any other retail shop in the area.
A woman of faith, Mechelle named her boutique with two of her passions in mind – God’s grace and her love for fashion – and continues to share her love for these things with anyone that walks into her store.
As Mechelle said best:
“We get by with a little Glam and a lot of Grace.”
Just three years after opening Grace & Glam, a building in downtown Williston came up for sale. Since Mechelle was currently leasing a building, she dreamed of having a space to call her own in the heart of her community. The only thing stopping her from taking this next step from financing.
Mechelle partnered with Dakota Business Lending and American State Bank and Trust to secure an SBA 504 loan – a loan program offering low down payments, below-market fixed interest rates, and up to 25-year terms. Through this program, she was able to purchase and renovate the building to call her own, at a rate and term that she could afford. “Once we met with Dakota Business Lending, things seemed to fall into place,” shared Mechelle. “The loan program and our partners really helped me accomplish this next step and grow my business. I would have never dreamed this is where it would end up.”
This new location allowed Grace & Glam to become more visible and better engage with the community.
As Mechelle has worked to grow Grace & Glam, she has also been intentional about interacting with and giving back to the community that has supported her and her dream since day one.
“The community has been amazing and has supported me from the very beginning,” explained Mechelle. “I try to be a part of as many events and sponsorships as possible to help out and give back.“
Grace & Glam has participated in a variety of community events, hosted a few of their own, and donated products and gift cards to fundraisers and silent auctions in Williston.
Grace & Glam wouldn’t be where it is today without Mechelle’s go-to gal, Danielle “Dani” Hodge. Dani worked at as a full-time Sales Associate and Store Manager at Grace & Glam and accompanies Mechelle with shopping and brand selections. She has brought customized styling to the customer experience and, while she has moved to Seattle, continues to manage Grace & Glam’s social media and website.
Some of Mechelle’s favorite memories about Grace & Glam include shopping at the market with Dani.
“Two times a year, Dani and I visit Los Angeles to shop for clothes and brands for our store that season. We get to pick out what we like, the brands we want to carry, and we always come back with so many new and exciting things.”
This shopping trip allows Grace & Glam to offer the newest and highest quality brands, handpicked just for their customers.
Reflecting back on her journey as a small business owner so far, Mechelle has just one piece of advice to share: follow your passion.
“Owning a business will come with many ups and downs, so make sure it’s something you’re passionate about. When you really love it, you’ll be able to push through and give it your all.”
For more information on Grace & Glam, visit their website.
This article was written by Dakota Business Lending with permission from Grace & Glam and is not to be edited or redistributed without permission.