MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) - Nestled in the middle of expanding Riverfront Drive, Bella Nova boutique, started as a hobby.
“I actually started re-purposing furniture in my garage, and then I decided I wanted to open a storefront in Lake Crystal where we live selling furniture," Brenda Sanderson, owner of Bella Nova, said. "But I knew furniture is kind of one of those high-price items, where people aren’t going to be able to come in weekly and purchase it. So I thought, what can I sell with furniture that can kind of turn into a business? And that’s how I got into clothing.”
Sanderson quickly gained popularity and decided to expand her business.
“A year later we opened a Bella Nova in Eagle Lake and I realized about a year into the second store, that going bigger is not always better,” she said.
She’s since consolidated to one store in Mankato, but kept her Lake Crystal storefront, and sets up a monthly pop-up shop for other women to sell their own products.
“I see the importance of supporting other owners,” Sanderson said. “And so we’re trying to do that pop-up to try to support other women business owners who can’t have a store.”
Meanwhile, she keeps a unique business model that keeps her coming back.
“We only get six of everything, because we want our customers to know that if they come in, they purchase it, they’re not gonna be wearing it with 50 other people from town,” she said.
Bella Nova is part of downtown's growing list of boutiques. And in a time where brick and mortar stores are losing to online retail, Sanderson says Mankato's boutique owners have become a community.
“I feel like sometimes women can be very competitive with each other," Sanderson said. "When you go into business, I think supporting other women, you get ahead so much faster, because if you can help market with each other, throw events together, encourage each other, support each other, I think you can grow as a whole.”
Bella Nova is open Tuesday-Thursday 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Friday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday noon to 4 p.m.
Sanderson’s pop-up will be open June 13-15 at 133 S. Main Street, Lake Crystal, MN. You can learn more about the pop-up and its vendors here.
You can find more information on Bella Nova on their Facebook page.