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'Fun Sisters' focuses efforts on local stores

Fun Sisters boutique stores in several locations are closing, but not the Pequot Lakes or Nisswa stores. Owner Patsy Skiba started her first store in 1995, focusing on selling jewelry and purses. In 2007, they decided to expand into a larger clot...

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Screen grab from 'The Fun Sisters' website. Owner Patsy Skiba started her first store in 1995, focusing on selling jewelry and purses. The company has grown from its first Minneapolis store to five locations in St. Paul, Stillwater, Nisswa, Pequot Lakes and Walker, though now Skiba is selling some of her stores to her former managers. The first to go was the Walker location.

Fun Sisters boutique stores in several locations are closing, but not the Pequot Lakes or Nisswa stores.

Owner Patsy Skiba started her first store in 1995, focusing on selling jewelry and purses. In 2007, they decided to expand into a larger clothing line to survive the recession. The company has grown from its first Minneapolis store to five locations in St. Paul, Stillwater, Nisswa, Pequot Lakes and Walker, though now Skiba is selling some of her stores to her former managers. The first to go was the Walker location.

"Last year in the spring we sold our Walker store to our manager," Skiba said. "Mary Engstrom is the new owner of the Walker store. She is doing the same thing we are doing with her own spin on it. She has a lot of the same products we do and we go to the market together."

Stillwater was next to go, since Skiba had decided to start simplifying her business.

"One of our employees last year went to be our manager in Stillwater," Skiba said. "We were having issues with that one since I live up here now. It's really hard to keep an eye on everything. This gal took it over and managed it really well. We asked if she was interested in buying it."

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The Stillwater store will be sold by June 1. A manager at Skiba's St. Paul store is also considering buying that location, and Skiba said there could be a decision made within a year. Skiba still buys products from market with her former managers, since products sell for less in bulk.

As for the Nisswa and Pequot Lakes stores, Skiba is not only keeping them, but she is expanding in Pequot Lakes. In the fall of 2016, Skiba and her husband, Daryl, purchased the former Whalen Woods Log Furniture building on Government Drive to have more space.

The current location next to Leslie's has small rooms and the store needed a lot more space, Skiba said.

The new location is being renovated.

"It needed a lot of renovation," Skiba said. "It was a very, very cool location and we had a vision of being able to do something cool with it. We decided to renovate, but with all the storms last year, all the carpenters were super busy. They were putting people's houses back together and our job had to take the back seat."

There was lots of work to be done. For one, the floor in the back section of the building was constructed without sub flooring, and every new layer of flooring was installed on top of the previous layer, meaning the whole floor needed to be reconstructed. Most of the building is nearing completion.

"We're getting close," Skiba said. "We have lots of irons in the fire because we do have other stores, but this is taking precedence now."

The new location will allow Skiba to expand her inventory, with enhanced children's clothing options. The new store will, however, be mostly the same products that Skiba's customers love.

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"Everything will be pretty much the same. We just have an awesome building," Skiba said. "I ended up putting in 10 really rustic chandeliers, and to me they are mind-blowing. They are so pretty."

The back section of the store may eventually house the store's discounted items, a feature not found at any other Fun Sisters location. Skiba is also expecting to bring back a larger stock of purses and possibly expand hours during the summer.

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Screen grab from 'The Fun Sisters' Facebook page.

Related Topics: PEQUOT LAKESNISSWA
Travis Grimler began work at the Echo Journal Jan. 2 of 2013 while the publication was still split in two as the Pine River Journal and Lake Country Echo. He is a full time reporter/photographer/videographer for the paper and operates primarily out of the northern stretch of the coverage area (Hackensack to Jenkins).
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