Main Street retail expands with second children’s clothing store

1 year ago

PRESQUE ISLE, Maine — Main Street has a new addition targeted to the younger set.

Little Blossom Boutique opened earlier this month in Presque Isle with a better-than-expected turnout. Half the inventory was sold that day, even though sibling owners Lexi Theriault and Abbi Frost had been fully stocked ahead of time.

Little Blossom is the second kids’ clothing store this year to join the expanding downtown retail community, with Simon & Estelle opening in December. Both stores want to help make Main Street a shopping destination for families, who have seen few options for children’s wear other than big-box stores.

The sisters have worked for a year on the store’s concept — with a little help from their late grandfather and mentor, Lionel Theriault, who died in 2021. Theriault founded Theriault Equipment in Presque Isle and shared his business knowledge and advice with them, Frost and Theriault said. When they became mothers, they knew they wanted to open a store.

“Once we had [our children], we realized there was such a need in our area and there was nowhere to find dress attire for the kids,” Theriault said. 

She has a 1-year-old girl, while Frost has a 2-year-old boy and another boy due next month.

Theriault also owns pet grooming business Paws & Relax in Presque Isle, which opened in 2019 and which her grandfather helped her open, she said. Through a client, she had heard someone renting at 428 Main St. wanted to move out. She and Frost examined the space and realized it was the perfect fit for what they were looking for.

Little Blossom Boutique owners Abbi Frost (left) and Lexi Theriault almost a week into their new business that opened on April 3 and located at 428 Main Street in Presque Isle on April 14. (Paul Bagnall | The Star-Herald)

     The women acquired the lease for the building from owners Jim Cavagnaro and Garry Nelson  in November 2022, and started moving into the space in March.

     “This building has so much character. It’s very unique,” Theriault said. 

     The property was once called the Allen Building after banker Charles Allen, according to an article by Kim Smith of the Presque Isle Historical Society. It also housed the Stevens, Engels, Bishop and Sprague law office and Bike Board & Ski at one time.

     The building still contains a walk-in Mosler Bank Saving Co. vault with original brickwork and concrete flooring, Theriault said.

    Every brand Theriault and Frost have in the store, from Goumi Kids to Lou Lou & Company, they have tried and loved with their children. One thing they hear from customers is that the store reminds them of boutique shops in Portland — except it’s in Aroostook County.  

    The sisters aim to carry formal, casual and safe clothing that contains no toxins.

    “There are a lot of brands out there now that have arsenic in them,” Frost said.

    They have done extensive research on the brands they carry at the shop to make sure they are safe and comfortable, she said. 

For instance, they try to carry hypoallergenic clothes that won’t spark skin reactions with children who have eczema. Some of the materials for Little Blossom are made from bamboo, which won’t cause an eczema reaction, she said.

“Kids’ skin is so delicate that we want to make sure we have stuff that we can say is safe for the child,” Theriault said.

They also aim to follow some of the tastes and trends adopted by younger generation moms in the Presque Isle area, like gender-neutral clothing with subtle colors that are easier to match, so they buy less and pass down through the family, Frost said.  

Both Theriault and Frost want to give back to the community, something their family stands by. They donated 10 percent of their grand opening profits to the Maine Children’s Home.

Frost graduated from the University of Maine in Presque Isle in 2019 and began work at Northern Maine Community College to become more financially secure in Presque Isle. Theriault enjoys splitting her time between her two very different fields of work.

“We’ve had a lot of experience within the field of business,” Frost said.

They plan to attend Rocking on Riverside events this summer in Presque Isle and Thursdays on Sweden in Caribou, as well as the Blackstone Farm Fall Festival. They also plan to host seasonal events at the store, Theriault said.