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New women’s clothing boutique hits DL

Barb Zahasky is set to open up her new women’s clothing store in downtown Detroit Lakes this week. DL NEWSPAPERS/Paula Quam

Detroit Lakes-area ladies now have another new place to shop for their trendy, fun looks.

Mainstream Boutique is opening up this week at 833 Washington Avenue, in the space where Val’s Floral/Laura Wagoner Portrait Studio once was.

But folks who think they’re familiar with the retail space, which sits right downtown, will be in for a surprise.

“We bought it (the building space) last August and we’ve been renovating it since,” said Barb Zahasky, who owns and operates the new Detroit Lakes location.

Zahasky, a Maplewood resident who spent over two decades in medical sales, has been shopping at the Mainstream Boutique down in the Twin Cities for about five years now.

She knew she loved the clothes, but the idea of opening up her own in the lakes area, where she had a cabin, sort of jumped out at her unexpectedly.

“The owner of that store mentioned it (the idea) to me, and I thought…I’m not ready to retire, but yeah, I really am ready for a change,” said Zahasky, who along with her partner, Bob, was excited to have an avenue to stay in the area they had grown to love.

“And there’s such a need for this (women’s clothing) in Detroit Lakes – there just aren’t that many options,” said Zahasky, “I think the level of interest people have shown here is enormous.”

When Zahasky found the prime retail spot in Detroit Lakes, she says everything just sort of “fell into place”.

Her weekend trips with Bob to the cabin turned into more like “working trips” as they transformed the space into a clean, open northwoods theme.

Zahasky quit her job just last Friday and made the final, complete move to Pelican Lake just as her inventory for the new store came in.

Now, it’s go-time as unique, trendy clothes are being hung and displayed with jewelry and accessories for sale accompany them.

“What we want to do is create a wonderful, fun environment for women to come and buy clothes and make them feel wonderful about themselves,” said Zahasky, who says they have a broad array of clothes to fit many sizes and many styles with a theme of comfort and casual.

“And it’s at very reasonable prices, so it’s something that’s not going to be your formal wear kind of place, it’s going to be the place you go to get a fun, new outfit for the night or weekend,” said Zahasky, “or for people who come here and visit our lake country, they can freshen up their wardrobes a bit.”

Although Mainstream is a franchised business (headquartered out of Minneapolis with 40 stores in 15 states), Zahasky says shoppers will not see identical inventory at every Mainstream Boutique, as her purchase power is limitless.

“I have the best of both worlds because I can buy from vendors that have the best prices because of our purchase power (as a franchised business), but I can also choose to buy from other vendors for my own store,” said Zahasky, “so I might have more casual wear or swimwear than the store in Fargo because we can choose what we think our customers might want more of.”

Zahasky, who has a college degree in marketing and organizational communication and has worked at several retail stores, says she’s excited to use what she’s got to run a business that she anticipates being a relaxed, fun atmosphere.

 “I think it’ll be a very good marriage of both my academic background as well as my professional experience,” she said, adding that while she has the only Mainstream Boutique in central Minnesota right now, she knows she also has a wealth of knowledge to tap into that being part of a franchise brings.

“I want the customer to feel wonderful about themselves and to be able to come into the store and casually look at things,” said Zahasky, “and if they need consultation, we have staff that understands the product and is willing to help people out with good choices in their garments.”

Mainstream Boutique is opening up sometime this week with a “soft opening” when the store is ready for its first sale.

They can be found on facebook at Mainstream Boutique-Detroit Lakes or by logging on to

They will open this summer Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Paula Quam

Paula Quam is the editor for Forum Communications Co. newspapers in Detroit Lakes, Perham and Wadena, all in Minnesota.

(218) 844-1466