Retailers returning to downtown Janesville

Trend of consignment, boutique shops opening continues

JANESVILLE, Wis. - Retailers are returning to downtown Janesville and that's good for the economy.

According to Forward Janesville, about a half dozen consignment or boutique stores have set up shop downtown in the last year and the trend seems to be continuing.

Chique Boutique and Consignment opened Thursday and is the newest specialty store to call downtown Janesville home.

The owner, Yolanda Cargile, said the Main Street location is a perfect fit.

"When we began looking for places for the store we saw that this place was available in the downtown area," said Cargile.

Just down the street Once Junky Now Funky reopened at their new location within the last month.

Co-owner Wendy Scott said their repurposing shop is growing.

"There's going to be much more to do. I'd look out because Janesville is going to make its way back," said Scott.

Scott is hoping to create a map highlighting the area's unique businesses.

"Maybe some of the restaurants as well, if they're interested, so people can make a day out of it. Come out and shop. Go get some lunch, maybe something to drink," said Scott.

Jennie Krajeck, director of events and small business services with Forward Janesville, admits the retail boom wasn't planned -- it sort of happened organically.

"We are kind of creating a niche of consignment shops and boutiques," said Krajeck.

She said successful businesses tend to cluster together and that will help create a more vibrant downtown.

"There's a major focus on the development of our river, of bigger projects, but these retail shops -- that whole, if you build it they will come -- maybe that's what we need to do. If you get the people down here they're going to be after different types of business," said Krajeck.

Retailers returning to downtown Janesville

In 2012, Rock County visitors spent $186 million dollars, which is a 6 percent increase over 2011.

Christine Reboute with the Janesville Convention and Visitors Bureau said they do have a map highlighting area businesses. They call it the Janesville Mile. It needs to be updated because so many shops keep popping up.

Reboute said the tourism industry is responsible for about 3,782 jobs throughout the county.

Cargile said she's excited to bring trendy options to the area and is making plans to carry men's and children's clothing in the future.

"We're excited about being a part of building this area up and bringing consumers to the area," said Cargile.

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