Allison Pepper had decided to focus solely on her career as a teacher and take a break from owning a retail storefront. However, Alicia Glover wouldn’t let her off the hook that easy. Glover had worked for Pepper the first time while she was a college student.
“Alicia worked with me when I opened my first boutique ten years ago,” Pepper said. “She was so gifted with people and fashion and truly had a passion for dressing women in the latest fashions. She was a college student working on a couple of different degrees but insisted all she wanted to do was work in a boutique, build relationships with customers and make them feel their best when they walked out the door with an outfit they truly loved.”
While Pepper remained somewhat active in the retail industry with an online boutique, Alicia Glover would not give up on them owning a retail storefront together.
“I was focused on teaching, and Alicia just wouldn’t let go of the idea of us opening a boutique together,” Pepper said. “I finally gave in (I’m so glad I did) and here we are.”
The partners opened True Boutique in downtown Benton in 2019 with the mission to serve local women of all types who wanted to dress trendy and shop locally.
“We try to cater to women of all ages who like to dress in the latest fashion,” Pepper said. “It is our goal for customers to walk in and be able to leave with new outfits from head to toe following the latest fashion trends, without breaking their budget. We especially enjoy when families shop together and we’re able to help dress the tweens to their grandmothers all at one time. It’s one-stop shopping for all.”
Business did well enough that Pepper “took a break” from teaching this school year, and the two opened another location in Bryant this September to serve customers outside of Saline County and both women are involved in the business “full-time.”
“Our decision to put our second location in Bryant was twofold,” Pepper said. “We wanted to better serve our Little Rock, Cabot, Conway, and Bryant customers while still being able to be what we needed to be for our own families by keeping locations near Benton, where our kids are daily.”
Pepper and Glover are happy being business owners again, but the process doesn’t come without its issues.
“The biggest challenge for us as small business owners is managing all of the ‘behind-the-scenes, not-always-fun stuff’ while making time to be out on the floor and spending time with our customers, doing what we love: visiting with them and dressing them. It’s often a struggle to make time for both and we are continuously working to get better at it.”
Pepper said it hasn’t taken long to build a loyal customer base of local shoppers who enjoy supporting small businesses.
“People in Saline County have supported us so well,” she said. “Many, obviously, get the importance of shopping locally and supporting small businesses, and we are so thankful for that.
“We still have people come into our stores for the first time every day. It is so wonderful to begin relationships with new customers while getting to see the familiar faces who have supported us for a long time and we have grown to know and love. Saline County carried us through the worst days of COVID, and we are beyond grateful for that.”
For more information on True Boutique, follow them on Facebook and Instagram (@trueboutiqueofarkansas) to see many of their new arrivals and special promotions that will run throughout the holidays.