Emerald Grove Boutique brings stylish clothing to Elkader’s Main Street

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Joelle Davis stands behind the counter of Emerald Grove Boutique, a new Elkader business that specializes in women’s clothing of all sizes, accessories, bath and body goods, home decor and other gift items.

By Willis Patenaude, Times-Register


A new business opened in Elkader on May 24, bringing more change to the community’s Main Street landscape.


Spearheaded by Joelle Davis, Emerald Grove Boutique marks her first entrance into the business world. The store  specializes in women’s clothing of all sizes, accessories, bath and body goods, home decor and other gift items. 


It represents a long-standing ambition since Joelle’s days as a department store employee while in college.


“I have always wanted to have a shop of my own, and when I heard that a popular store in town was closing, I felt it was the right time. It is also very difficult to find trendy plus size clothes. As a plus-sized woman myself, I wanted to offer these options to others,” Joelle said. 


This decision on what offer, while mostly being Joelle’s personal choice, was also aided by meetings with members from the Elkader Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber presented Joelle with recent surveys that indicated residents were requesting a clothing store, and as fortune would have it, that request aligned with Joelle’s own desire. 


“My goal was to fill that void and offer women’s clothing, with the goal to add men’s and children’s clothing in the future. There are other amazing shops in Elkader and I worked to make sure I was providing items that varied from their shops, as I want us all to benefit from the shoppers visiting Elkader,” Joelle added. 


Bringing an idea to life involves some challenges, but according to Joelle, the experience has been rather devoid of difficulties. Instead, to her surprise, it was easy once she applied for all the required certificates and toured the town looking for a place to set up shop. 


On that tour, she found 125 S. Main Street, where thINK was located before upgrading to a larger location. Joelle instantly connected with the building: its vibe, style and general layout. It had everything she was looking for and everything she needed to start. 


But it wasn’t just the location that inspired Joelle. It was also Elkader, a place where she has personally visited, shopped created memories. It’s a town where something is always happening, whether it be sponsored events or tourism, so there is a constant customer base.  


“It just felt right…It is a beautiful town that has a lot to offer,” Joelle said. 


The process of purchasing inventory began back in March, and it forced Joelle to abandon her comfort zone, buying items that didn’t fit her style to appeal to a larger audience. Since then, she has purchased enough inventory to fill every corner of the store, which made moving in “a breeze,” as she put it. The only thing left to do before opening day was paint, a task that was accomplished with the help of family on May 15.


What made the process even easier and more enjoyable was the excitement Joelle heard about the store prior to opening. The positive feedback was motivating, just like the welcoming environment that seems to be ingrained in Elkader’s personality as a city. The open arms have made Joelle receptive to suggestions and requests for items, all in an effort to serve a community which has shown “amazing” support and made a life changing decision easy to justify. 


“My first week being open was more than I could have dreamed. Everyone has been so welcoming and has expressed how happy they are to have my boutique in town. I have enjoyed getting to meet so many new people,” Joelle said. 


Being a new business owner is about setting an example for people to follow and, for Joelle, that means encouraging others to “just do it.”


“There is no better time than now,” she said.


Of course, some of this “just do it” spirit was imparted by Joelle’s late father, Rick, who passed away in September 2020. The store name was even inspired by him. Emerald, the “stone of prosperity,” represents growth and vitality, both essential to business sustainability. The Grove part pays tribute to her father, who had a grove of trees he was especially fond of. 


“My dad was always encouraging of chasing our dreams and I know he would be proud of this boutique,” Joelle said. 


Shoppers can find Joelle at the store Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. 

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