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‘Let’s go for it’

The Bluebird Boutique opens amid pandemic

News Photos by Darby Hinkley Kelly Heikkuri stands inside The Bluebird Boutique, which she opened on May 1 at 112 Water St. in downtown Alpena.

ALPENA — Kelly Heikkuri always wanted to open her own boutique, and not even a pandemic could stop her.

Every time she would shop in little boutiques, the idea of owning hers someday impressed upon her.

“It’s something that I’ve always wanted to do,” she said on Thursday, but she was waiting for the right timing. Oddly enough, that turned out to be amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“I was a social worker for over 10 years, and I got laid off, and so I said, ‘You know what? I’m just going to do this,'” Heikkuri said. “What better time? Let’s do it in a pandemic! … Let’s go for it.”

She held the grand opening for The Bluebird Boutique last Saturday, May 1, which was very well attended.

Women’s clothing lines the wall inside the boutique.

“We were nonstop,” she said of the store’s grand opening. “It was so, so great.”

Since she was laid off at the end of March 2020, Heikkuri said she had lots of time to research the items she wanted to carry and learn more about opening her own business. She does not have a business background, but she has done a lot of online research about it.

“So I just started looking for wholesalers online and just reading about what I need to order and what people enjoy,” she said. “I put out a survey last summer” on Facebook, asking people what clothing sizes they would like her to carry, and the types of clothing and other items they would like to see in store.

The Bluebird Boutique carries a variety of trendy women’s clothing for all ages, in sizes Small to 3X. Accessories are also available at the boutique.

“I’m so thankful that I’ve been hearing so much support … for bringing plus sizes in,” she said, adding that customers have told her “we’ve needed it.”

Accessories are seen above at The Bluebird Boutique.

“I really appreciate hearing that feedback,” she added.

Heikkuri and her family moved up to Alpena from Waterford about two years ago.

She said she was a bit nervous at first about how business would be in a pandemic, but the Alpena community and other downtown business owners have been very welcoming and supportive.

“I think anywhere else that I’ve lived, I would have never received the reception that I did,” she said. “With people sharing my posts and congratulating me and writing me messages. It’s just been nothing like I ever expected, and it’s just been such a pleasant surprise … I’m so thankful and so appreciative of that.”

The possibility of a recession has been in the back of her mind, but she remains positive.

“If that happens, we’ll work through it,” she said. “But, people always need clothes.”

She said all her customers have been great, abiding by safety guidelines and wearing masks in her store. She sanitizes surfaces regularly as well.

The Bluebird Boutique is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.

“I think with warmer weather coming up, and opening in May, it has been a good time, just for more people getting out and about,” Heikkuri said. “I’m hoping it’s good timing, with people coming back for the summer, too.”

ALPENA — Kelly Heikkuri always wanted to open her own boutique, and not even a pandemic could stop her.

Every time she would shop in little boutiques, the idea of owning hers someday impressed upon her.

“It’s something that I’ve always wanted to do,” she said on Thursday, but she was waiting for the right timing. Oddly enough, that turned out to be amid the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

“I was a social worker for over 10 years, and I got laid off, and so I said, ‘You know what? I’m just going to do this,'” Heikkuri said. “What better time? Let’s do it in a pandemic! … Let’s go for it.”

She held the grand opening for The Bluebird Boutique last Saturday, May 1, which was very well attended.

“We were nonstop,” she said of the store’s grand opening. “It was so, so great.”

Since she was laid off at the end of March 2020, Heikkuri said she had lots of time to research the items she wanted to carry and learn more about opening her own business. She does not have a business background, but she has done a lot of online research about it.

“So I just started looking for wholesalers online and just reading about what I need to order and what people enjoy,” she said. “I put out a survey last summer” on Facebook, asking people what clothing sizes they would like her to carry, and the types of clothing and other items they would like to see in store.

The Bluebird Boutique carries a variety of trendy women’s clothing for all ages, in sizes Small to 3X. Accesories are also available at the boutique.

“I’m so thankful that I’ve been hearing so much support … for bringing plus sizes in,” she said, adding that customers have told her “we’ve needed it.”

“I really appreciate hearing that feedback,” she added.

Heikkuri and her family moved up to Alpena from Waterford about two years ago.

She said she was a bit nervous at first about how business would be in a pandemic, but the Alpena community and other downtown business owners have been very welcoming and supportive.

“I think anywhere else that I’ve lived, I would have never received the reception that I did,” she said. “With people sharing my posts and congratulating me and writing me messages. It’s just been nothing like I ever expected, and it’s just been such a pleasant surprise … I’m so thankful and so appreciative of that.”

The possibility of a recession has been in the back of her mind, but she remains positive.

“If that happens, we’ll work through it,” she said. “But, people always need clothes.”

She said all her customers have been great, abiding by safety guidelines and wearing masks in her store. She sanitizes surfaces regularly as well.

The Bluebird Boutique is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.

“I think with warmer weather coming up, and opening in May, it has been a good time, just for more people getting out and about,” Heikkuri said. “I’m hoping it’s good timing, with people coming back for the summer, too.”

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