(photo by Paul Struck)
By Paul Struck, Editor
"Bags & Baubles," a new business featuring women's popular fashion accessories at modest prices, opened its doors today at 423 W. Main St. in the heart of downtown Cherokee's historic Cultural and Entertainment District.
Gena Hamilton of Cherokee will own and operate the store, along with two part-time employees. Store hours will be from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Monday through Friday, will stay open until 8 o'clock Thursday nights, and will operate from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturdays.
With its 1,000 square-foot location next to the Copper Cup coffee shop in downtown Cherokee, Hamilton said the two businesses will feed off each other and team to attract shoppers from a wide regional distance. The two businesses adjoin and share a common inside entry for ease of movement among shoppers.
Among the many fine fashion accessories offered at Bags & Baubles are famous fashion brand look-alikes, including look-alike purses by Prada, Gucci, Kate Spade, Coach, and Marc Jacobs.
The store also offers jewelry items, scarves, belts, and sunglasses, all moderatley priced to suit area shoppers.
Sure to be popular are the custom-made jewelry and wrist watches in area high school colors, replete with mascot logos. Hamilton has such items for the Cherokee Braves, Galva-Holstein Pirates, Aurelia Bulldogs, Marcus-Meriden-Cleghorn Eagles, and South O'Brien Wolverines. She also is in the process of ordering River Valley Wolverine jewelry and watches.
Among the other jewelry items are watches, pendants, bracelets, earrings, charms and necklaces. The store features both solid sterling and costume jewelry.
"It's all about fun and fashions," said Hamilton, excited to get the business up and running. "We'll have classic purses of fur, suede, and leather, the popular disc bags, and we even have purses trimmed out in ostrich feather. We have purses in all the fall colors for girls and women ages 5 to 75. And they're all moderately priced.
Hamilton said she also is trying to get "Crocs," a popular shoe brand craze sweeping the nation. Crocs are renowned for their incomparable comfort, according to wearers.
"Bags & Baubles is really a women's fashion accessories boutique," continued Hamilton, whose husband, Ross, operates Rasmussen Ford in Cherokee.
With the renovated downtown full of many attractive businesses and fine eateries, Hamilton can see Cherokee quickly becoming a "location destination" for regional shoppers.
"They can have a girls day out and come to Cherokee to shop, have coffee, relax and enjoy our town," said Hamilton. "We have something special in downtown Cherokee and we need to be special with unique retail stores."
Hamilton also envisions after-hour store parties for her business, where individuals can pick a night and host private, in-store parties. They, in turn, will earn a commission on merchandise sold that night.
Hamilton has worked in marketing and advertising for the past 15 years with the ad agency, Call & Associates, in Milford. She will continue to split time there and in her new Cherokee store.
"I've been around business all my life (her Dad, Gene, is long-time owner of Rasmussen Ford in Cherokee and Storm Lake)," added Hamilton. "I like to think I know what it takes to be successful and to market the right stuff in the right way. I'm excited to see where this business goes."
The new store also can be accessed at its web site -
All major credit cards will be accepted and gift certificates are available in the store and on-line for the male shoppers who might be uncertain about what to buy for the women in their life.