Dustin Beaty had been operating Hospital Discount Pharmacy in downtown Jasper for nine years when he agreed to his wife’s request to sell game-day clothes in the pharmacy.
A week after she began the venture, Shannon Beaty nonchalantly informed him, “I’m having to reorder. I ordered some non-game-day stuff.’’ With that seemingly innocent statement, the idea of Lavish Boutique moved toward reality.
Six months after Shannon began her enterprise in July 2012, her boutique had eclipsed the over-the-counter section of the pharmacy.
“We had boutique customers complaining that they didn’t have enough space to shop. We had pharmacy customers complaining that they didn’t come to the pharmacy to have to fight the boutique crowd,” Dustin said. It was time for the boutique to find a place of its own.
So, the Beatys prayed. The florist next door to the pharmacy confided that she was considering selling her business.
“Two days later, I had a dream,” said Shannon. “I saw boutique clothing in the (floral store’s) front window. I said to Dustin, ‘This is meant to be. If it works out, this is where we are going to be.’”
In June 2013, Lavish Boutique was born, opening next door to the pharmacy. The store quickly outgrew that 1,300-square-foot space. Again, the Beatys prayed.
By the fall of 2016, the store had expanded in the same 19th Street block and now included a coffee bar. The combination boutique/coffee shop has become the anchor of the east end of the downtown Jasper business district.
On Aug. 15 of this year, the Beatys opened a second location of Lavish Boutique in the warehouse district of Cullman. “We were at the right place, at the right time and met the right people,” said Shannon. “It was all in God’s perfect plan.”
The couple also operates an online store at lavishboutiqueclothing.com.
“From Hospital Discount Drugs to Lavish Boutique and Coffee Bar, the Beatys’ businesses have lead the renaissance of Jasper’s downtown,” Paul W. Kennedy, president of the Walker Area Community Foundation, wrote earlier this year in support of the couple’s nomination as Alabama Retailers of the Year. The Beatys are the 2018 Silver Retailers of the Year in the $1 Million to $5 Million Annual Sales Category, and they are the Customers’ Choice Award winners, garnering 3,112 of 23,609 votes cast.
“When we decided to expand, Jasper had just entered the Main Street program for Alabama,” said Dustin, who served as Main Street Jasper’s president for the 2016-2017 term. The Beatys had also just returned from a family vacation out west, where multiple businesses tended to congregate in one location. Those two events proved serendipitous.
In a town hall meeting, “the Beatys heard a desire from the public that they wished Jasper had a ‘third space’; not a store, not a church, but maybe a coffee shop. Today, the Lavish Coffee Bar is one of the go-to places to meet and recharge” in our town, Kennedy said.
Customers flow back and forth between the boutique and the coffee bar through the open floor plan inspired by the Beatys’ experience visiting the western United States. The coffee shop also has its own street entrance and a concrete pad beside it with outside tables.
While that trip and the suggestion made at the town-hall meeting gave the Beatys the idea, “Main Street gave us the supporting numbers to tell us that the coffee shop would work,” Dustin said.
Mike Putman, executive director of Main Street Jasper, verified, “The reason this coffee shop is here is because of our market analysis.”
Main Street has been good for Jasper and the Beatys. “Our business has grown since Jasper became a Main Street city,” Dustin said. “The other businesses that have come to downtown have also driven traffic and shopping to this area.”
This story originally appeared in Alabama Retailer magazine.