Boutiques, bank partner to support ‘shopping small’

This piece is presented by The First National Bank in Sioux Falls.

Shop award-winning small businesses and visit Santa this Small Business Saturday thanks to a partnership between Brandon boutiques and The First National Bank in Sioux Falls.

Amanda Christopherson, who owns Beautique, and Chrystal Rothenberger, who owns The Paisley Pod, are set to help shoppers cross plenty of gifts off their list. Both boutiques are based in Brandon and are successful female-owned businesses that are thriving thanks to their owners’ tenacity and their community’s support of shopping local.

Because The Paisley Pod is mobile, it is able to join forces this Saturday with Gypsy Trading Company and Beautique, located just a few blocks north of The First National Bank branch on Splitrock Boulevard.

“We want to give our customers a fun shopping experience on Saturday, all in one spot,” Christopherson said, adding if shoppers are unsure what to buy, “plaid has been huge this season. And you can never go wrong gifting a great pair of boots or booties; we have plenty at Beautique.”

The Paisley Pod suggests gifting a sweater or a comfy cardigan or taking the simple approach with a gift card. “We also have hats, scarves, mittens, jewelry, you name it,” Rothenberger said.

Along with Small Business Saturday celebrating at the shops, The First National Bank is taking part in the excitement. It’s a tradition for its Brandon branch to invite Santa to the bank.

“You don’t have to be a customer,” said Val Lemkau, branch manager. “Anyone living or visiting Brandon is more than welcome.”

Before assuming the role of branch manager in Brandon, Lemkau managed other branch locations. “But I’ve still taken my kids the last two years to Santa in Brandon. It’s exciting to see their faces light up as they hand him their lists.”

The bank lobby will be open from 10 a.m. to noon to accommodate Santa.

“He’s a generous guy and enjoys visiting the bank every year,” Lemkau said. “We have a great community, so it really doesn’t take much to convince him.”

The bank drive-up will be open normal hours from 9 a.m. to noon.

Supporting small businesses

For Rothenberger, who managed a First National branch before starting her own business, the event symbolizes the tight-knit, small-business community that has formed in Brandon during the past decade.

She recalls Shop Small Saturday with Santa at the bank as one of her favorite events of the year.

“This event is a great way for people to bring their littles, enjoy some treats and take advantage of a photo opportunity with Santa in front of a beautiful tree,” Rothenberger said. “You can feel a certain energy in the air. The community has a lot of different sales and events that day.”

Beautique has a new location in Brandon.

Christopherson, owner of Beautique, said the support comes full-circle in Brandon.

“The citizens of Brandon truly love to ‘Buy Brandon’ and support all of the businesses here. And what really matters to us is our customers; we’ve never lost focus of that.”

Both boutiques are hoping Small Business Saturday builds on a big year. The Paisley Pod was named Best Mobile Boutique in South Dakota by readers of the Boutique Hub, and Beautique ranked in the top five boutiques out of more than 4,000 stores worldwide, winning Best South Dakota Storefront Boutique of the Year and the runner-up spot for Best Global Boutique.

“Shop Small Saturday has been a great day for us for years. It’s our biggest shopping day, which just shows how important the ‘Shop Small’ movement is in keeping the mom and pop shops going strong,” Christopherson said.

Running a small business isn’t easy, especially in the past decade.

“Over the past 10 years, small-business owners have encountered great challenges such as the recession, increased competition from online sales and uncertainty due to changing federal regulations,” said Mark Slade, regional director of the South Dakota Small Business Development Center. “They have shown their resilience and innovativeness to meet these obstacles, and some have even turned them into opportunity, especially with regards to e-commerce.”

Helping small business navigate those challenges is rewarding for First National, Lemkau said.

“First National loves to support and encourage relationships with small businesses like Beautique and The Paisley Pod,” she said. “We have several products and services to meet their needs, whether it be merchant processing, debit cards, a loan or online banking.”

Christopherson has worked with First National since founding Beautique.

“A few years ago, I took a risk and have continued to take risks to follow this crazy dream of mine. I’m so blessed that it has worked in my favor, but it’s hard work that makes that happen. I love that I get to help women feel beautiful every day,” she said.

“First National Bank has been with me from the beginning, and I look forward to working with them to expand this year.”

Rothenberger has gone from bank employee to business customer.

“The bank was a great place to work. They have such a strong culture there and truly value family and community. You can’t say that about every company, which is why it was a difficult decision to walk away,” she said. “I just knew if I wanted to put my all into The Paisley Pod that’s what needed to happen. I’m fortunate to still be working with First National on a business level.”

As an entrepreneur, “everything depends on you, and that can be kind of scary,” she added. “But everything you do is also a learning opportunity.”

Boutiques, bank partner to support ‘shopping small’

Shop award-winning small businesses and visit Santa this Small Business Saturday thanks to a partnership between Brandon boutiques and The First National Bank in Sioux Falls.

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