A local business that started as a section within the clothing retailer Posh on Commerce around 2017 is now housed in the owner’s own brick-and-mortar site which recently expanded.
The home goods store Niche opened on Commerce Avenue in 2018 and expanded by 500 square feet in the fall to make room for baby clothes under the boutique name Kait & Stella and specialty home goods like hand-crafted Bisou tea and earthy blends of Vetiver sage lotion.
Owner Kaitlyn Senn said she dipped her toe into retail about five years ago when she started sourcing baby clothes to sell at Posh on Commerce under the boutique name Kait & Stella — a nod to herself and her then toddler niece. She opened her own store in Posh on Commerce’s previous location at 1314 Commerce Ave. with the help of owner Michelle Philbrook as a mentor, she said.
“She was a big role model,” Senn said. “She helped me do all of this.”
Now, home goods and baby clothes are available in one shop.
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“It’s nice to have one business under one roof,” Senn said, adding customers still venture to Posh to find the Kait & Stella collection and are directed to go down the street.
Senn studied hospitality at Central Washington University and then worked in childcare in Bellevue until she moved back to Longview.
In November, Senn said she added 500 square feet to her now total 1,400 square-foot space because business was up, and can now house more home goods like indoor plants, tasseled Mud Pie pillows and floral plastic-wrap dispensers to hide store-bought containers.
The Longview native said she picks items that speak to her and stays loyal to brands that work, whether that’s Milkbarn for organic kids’ clothes or SlumberKins for stuffed animal and book packages for early learners from a Vancouver-based company.
Senn aims to find fashionable items that you won’t find on the shelves of big box chains, like the Itzy Ritzy leopard print diaper bags and stroller organizers on shelves Friday.
Niche started as a home goods store, but Senn said customers gravitate to the shop for speciality gifts they can’t find at other local retailers. Senn said downtown events like Shop Small Saturday help bring foot traffic, and she sees about 15 customers a week. She said she likely will expand hours in the fall in preparation for Niche’s busy holiday season.
Senn said she’s happy to see businesses fill Commerce Avenue since she opened in 2018. That year, a city report states of the 158 licensed businesses on Commerce Avenue between Vandercook Way and Florida Street, nearly 54 percent of those businesses opened between 2013 and 2018.
Senn said customers back local ventures.
“If you have a good product, the community will support you,” she said.
Talking Business is a series featuring local new or expanded businesses and prints every Tuesday.
Contact Daily News City Editor Hayley Day at 360-577-2541 or [email protected] for possible inclusion in the series.