Business Spotlight: Pink Zebra Boutique helping Marshfield Mall change its stripes
By Matthieu Vollmer
MARSHFIELD — In May 2014 owners Charlotte Merwin and her daughter Nichole opened The Pink Zebra Boutique at the Marshfield Mall.
“The style in Marshfield seemed a little behind the times and plain. I like color and wanted to give Marshfield a little shock. We wanted a name that was unique and something that no one will forget,” said Merwin when asked how they decided on the name of the business.
Merwin is a native of Florida. She moved to North Carolina in 2007 where she opened a gift shop that quickly outgrew its 1,000-square foot location and later moved to a 10,000-square foot store. The business carried products from over 140 local artists.
In 2011 Merwin moved to Wisconsin to be closer to family. After working for both Pick ‘n Save and Festival Foods in Marshfield, she decided to open up another gift shop.
“I love people. So that’s the main thing,” said Merwin.
Merwin and her daughter run the boutique, and there are three other employees that are local college students. The boutique showcases over 60 products made in Wisconsin, over 40 of which are made in the Marshfield area.
Shop shelves display products ranging from candles to sports team stuffed animals to Old Milwaukee signs, custom made T-shirts, local artwork, and everything in between.
“We did T-shirts for the McMillan Fire Department and donated the proceeds back to the department. The T-shirt business is crazy. We do single shirts and bulk orders, which makes us different from other T-shirt companies. If you let us put our logo on the sleeve of the shirt, they are $2 cheaper per shirt. T-shirts run between $12 and $16 per shirt,” said Merwin.
Merwin added that top-selling products include candles and signs. The store showcases candles from the Cottage Candle Company, a North Carolina-based company, that are the only product in the store that is not made in Wisconsin. The candles cost $10 each, and the melted wax can be used as a hand lotion since the candles are 100% soy. Fragrances include “morning dew,” “monkey farts,” “nanner puddin’,” and “fresh cut grass.”
“The mall has had a lot of empty spots over the years, but we are between Younkers and JCPenney’s, which is a good location. The mall seems to be getting better and busier in general. All of the businesses work together to help one another,” said Merwin.
She noted that the JCPenney in Wausau and the Younkers in Wisconsin Rapids are no longer in business, which brings customers to the Marshfield Mall from both cities. She said that customers have traveled from Abbotsford and from as far away as Eagle River to shop at the mall.
Local artists can display their products in the shop if they are store quality and are different from what is already in the store.
“I want to be the artist’s personal cheerleader and represent and sell their products for them,” said Merwin. Each artist or vendor must meet Merwin’s criteria for quality and also bring in samples for demonstration before she will agree to sell the products in the shop.
When asked what she would recommend to someone who has not been in the store, Merwin said, “I usually ask what the customer is looking for first, which is usually a gift of some sort. Then I make a recommendation based on their response. I would also tell them to stop by to support local artists and to keep it local, which is the main thing. You know that everything in the store is definitely made in America.”
The Pink Zebra Boutique is located in the Marshfield Mall at 503 E. Ives Street, #103 in Marshfield. To learn more call 715-898-1185, email [email protected], or search for the company on Facebook. Store hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturdays, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays.
See Photos from inside Pink Zebra Boutique here: https://hubcitytimes.wpengine.com/news/business/photo-gallery-pink-zebra-boutique/