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Expansion plans for Apricot Lane Boutique
Dec '11
After a triumphant first year establishing her pair of Apricot Lane Boutiques Ellie Brown is already planning for 2012. Brown is an entrepreneur based in Missoula, Montana who, with her husband Michael, bravely opened two successful Apricot Lane Boutique stores in Missoula and Bozeman in the last year.

Now, as her two Apricot Lane Boutique locations flourish, Brown is making expansion plans. She is adding more well known national brands to her stores, as well as brand new t-shirt designs. In collaboration with renowned graphic artist, Robin Thompson, Brown is launching a new line of t-shirts with a plan for proceeds to support local charities. The inspirational shirts will carry the important message of hope to all women.

“Every woman is seeking fun, unique products that are at a reasonable price point. It is our mission to offer the best customer service and fashion possible. We love launching local and international lines. In 2012, we are very excited to collaborate with Wrangler Rock 47 jeans and Justin Boots.” Brown said. “At both locations, even though we carry several different lines in each, we still offer the same great service and value. And we're excited for another store in Kalispell next year.”

Brown's stores are part of the Apricot Lane franchise that doubled its size in last year and continuously appears in Entrepreneur Magazine's Top Franchise List. With new items arriving almost daily, Apricot Lane is the perfect place to find one-of-a-kind outfits and unique gift items for women of all ages. The Bozeman store also carries items for men and children. Both stores carry a limited number of each item to ensure customers have a sense of individuality when making a purchase.

Recently Brown boldly dove into an entirely different venture. She has acquired part of Charbonneau's Chocolate in Stevensville, Montana, with former owner, Sheila Schiwal. Now Charbonneau's Chocolate can be found in the Apricot Lane stores along with the first kiosk in the Bozeman Gallatin Valley Mall.

Brown's unique business model makes her stores different from others. “We are charity passionate and believe that our stores can achieve all of our business goals with the right heart. We want to be a model for our family, the Apricot Lane family, community and other businesses,” Brown said.

Brown says she has a deep commitment to charitable contribution, publicity for charities, proceeds from sales to charity, and incentives to her staff for volunteer work performed. “We have supported 16 charities in the 8 months since opening. It is our intent to say yes to requests for support until we just can't possibly say yes anymore. If our community believes in our business model, then, they will support our efforts and that way saying no won't be an option,” Brown said.

Ellie Brown brings the full breath of her varied professional experience to her new career as entrepreneur. Brown spent twenty-four years in the field of addiction prevention, intervention, and treatment with a specialty in adolescence. She did not plan for retail business success. “I wanted to make my own rules and make a difference.” Brown says.

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