Cali’s opens second locale

ELK RAPIDS – The Village of Elk Rapids has transformed itself over the past few years into a hot spot of boating, culture and shopping. So it’s no wonder that Alison and Alonzo Knowles seized the opportunity to open their second Cali’s Cottons boutique here last month.

Alison’s “personality plus” is evident from the minute you walk into the boutique on River Street. Cute, eclectic displays of unique gifts and jewelry, plus the popular cotton clothing, make this retail space come alive with a “let’s hang around and shop” feel.

With a background in interior design, Alison chose retail as her career and opened Cali’s Cottons over 15 years ago in Traverse City.

“I like fine things; clothing, jewelry, gifts and the challenge of putting them all together. The best part of my job is watching our clientele mix and match the clothing, making that unique outfit come alive–or picking out just the right gift. I really love my job and if I didn’t, I certainly wouldn’t be in this business. My staff is the same way; I have never had to seek out employees, they come to me wanting to work in my stores. I guess I’m lucky that way!”

Becky Travis is a perfect example, says Knowles. Becky loved her job at Cali’s so much that she and her husband, Mason, moved from Kingsley to Elk Rapids to become permanent residents.

Opening a store, especially on a strict timeline prior to your busy season, can be hectic at best. But Alison was quick to point out the Merchants Association of Elk Rapids welcomed her with open arms.

“A merchants association is key to any retailer and this one is wonderful–I’ve had super advice from other store owners, from scheduling for special village events, to display and product acquisition. You truly feel a part of something special in this village; it has that fun, friendly, small town feeling. People like being here.”

Reach the Elk Rapids location at 264-0817. BN