ANDERSON — There isn’t much room to try on dresses in Karla Montgomery’s new boutique, but her customers don’t seem to mind.
And, if the customers aren’t showing up, she can easily move her business to a new location.
Montgomery’s Sweet Threads on Wheels, a women’s clothing and accessories store housed in an oversized truck, made its debut last month.
“She can go anywhere and set up shop,” Amber Lofton said as she inspected a blouse for sale. “It’s very unique ... just a great idea.”
The idea, Montgomery says, came during a Christmas shopping trip to Ohio. Her daughter’s friend had a similar enterprise, selling accessories and apparel out of an old UPS van.
“I thought, this is a pretty cool idea,” Montgomery said. “I kept that in the back of my mind, thinking maybe someday I’ll do that — not thinking it would probably happen. And then the last year or two, I kind of decided I was ready to retire from the job I was doing and what would I want to do next, because I wasn’t ready to just be retired.”
In May, Montgomery and her husband purchased a truck, then spent the summer refurbishing it. A local graphic design company created a mural wrap with a logo, and Montgomery began ordering merchandise to stock the shelves. The truck debuted in late September. Montgomery estimates she’s made about 10 appearances since then — mainly at neighborhood events and private parties — and the feedback has been encouraging.
“People love it,” Montgomery said. “They think it’s attractive. Everybody that’s come in has been positive and nice and wants it to work. It’s been good.”
The novelty of the boutique, which comes complete with a small curtained dressing room for trying on outfits, has prompted several customers to ask her if she plans on making regular appearances.
“I’ve never seen anything like this,” Holly Wheeler said as she looked at a watch on a shelf of accessories. “I wanted to come and show support, because it’s a local business that’s just getting started. I think it’s a great idea.”
Although she hasn’t committed to daily or even weekly outings yet, Montgomery says as her small business receives more exposure, a set schedule isn’t out of the question.
“Right now it’s just wherever people want me to go,” she said. “People that I’ve talked to that have had trucks like this said you need about eight women to make it worth your while. If there’s going to be women there, I think it can work. So if there’s a luncheon or somebody’s having card club or any events where women are, I’m willing to go.”