GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. — A group of entrepreneurs in West Michigan are coming together this shopping season by opening up a unique pop-up shop at Woodland Mall.
The store is called Boutique Boulevard. It features 21 Black-owned, Grand Rapids-based businesses. According to vendors, it’s the first-of-its-kind at the mall.
“I’ve been able to connect with people who I don’t know,” said William Braylock. “People who are just regular customers at a mall, walking by, stopping, hear about the brand, and they’re like ‘Oh my G-d, I love it,’ and we sit here and have conversations.”
Braylock owns “Every Kid Deserves a Dope Father”. It’s a clothing company aimed to empower dads through sweatshirts, hats, etc.
“I have a little daughter, and she’s the highlight of my life, so it’s kind of to honor her, but also to be a beacon to other fathers who may not have the skill set to be a good father,” said Braylock.
Braylock started EKDADF about a year ago, but says he soon realized the challenges of owning a small shop, which led him to join the boutique.
Tynetta Wilson, one of the boutique’s co-founders, says the idea for it started this past summer after she has a similar experience once she opened up her plus-sized clothing line.
“We get to tell everybody that walks in this mall how we became, how we came here,” said Wilson.
Other vendors sell things like accessories, wigs, and games.
Financially the store says it’s doing well. For example, on Black Friday, it grossed $3,500.
“Each member here has a story, why they started their business, and a lot of us did it because we were out of work,” said Wilson. “If you come in here and you buy this for her with $20, she can take it and feed her family.”
Boutique Boulevard is open during mall hours through December 31.