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Boutique with style joins downtown: Maude Specklebelly’s, a winner of Monmouth Retail Business Competition, opens its doors

February 6, 2015

Michelle Ravel / The Courier - One winner of the Monmouth Retail Business Competition, Maude Specklebelly's opens in Monmouth with a mix of clothing and home decor.

“Rustic chic” is how co-owner Erin Elliott describes Maude Specklebelly’s style.

Located at 109 E. Broadway, this local boutique is owned by two former stay-at-home moms who have “known each other since diapers.” Elliott and her business partner Jaime Ballard opened Maude Specklebelly’s Dec. 5, 2014 and haven’t looked back since. Offering everything from women’s clothing to home décor and jewelry, Maude offers something for just about everyone.

“It didn’t start out as a clothing store,” said Elliott. “[The store] was going to be more gift and home décor; we just wanted a sampling of clothing, but as we recognized whose needs we wanted to meet it turned into more than that.”

“It’s important to us that the college students have a place to go but it’s almost important to us that our moms and [others] of that generation have a place to go in town.”

After entering the Shops of Monmouth Retail Business Competition in July 2014, Maude Specklebelly’s emerged as one of three winners who came away with the grand prizes. Free rent for six months, plus discounts on phone, internet and advertising are among the perks of their victory.

“Growing up this was a thriving town,” Ballard said. “We’d get our school shoes here and some of our clothes … there were things here. We know there is potential and we know that the stores that have been here in the past have done well, they just had circumstances that they had to close their doors.”

Despite the challenges that small business owners face, Elliott and Ballard are confident that as long as the customers keep coming Maude will remain open.

“We’re fully invested in the community,” Elliott said. “Being from here, we’re not going anywhere and it’s really important to us that Monmouth thrives.”

Both Elliott and Ballard said that Maude is off to a “fantastic” start, but would like to see more college students coming to the store.

Senior Courtney Johnson said that she was “really impressed” the first time she went into Maude. “Back home, in the suburbs of Chicago, we have a lot of cute boutiques like this. It’s a nice change to have a business like this in Monmouth. They offer a lot of cute clothing options as well as home décor, which I thought was a great idea.”

Elizabeth Meyer
Courier News Editor

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