With the help of an LRC loan, Rochelle Evans (center) has added two full-time employees, expanded her product lines, and positioned her North Avenue retail store for additional growth.
Legacy Redevelopment Corp. (LRC) financing and technical support is helping one local retail store owner refashion her long-term business strategy.
Owning a small business can be challenging, particularly a women’s clothing store in today’s world of ever-changing
fashion trends and ever-expanding online competition. Yet one local entrepreneur is breathing easier and finding new success thanks to a loan from LRC.
In 2008, Rochelle Evans opened Rochelle’s Fashion Boutique on Teutonia Ave. in a 750-square-foot space. With a strong sense of style and solid retail experience, Evans found early success and had high hopes when she more than quadrupled her space on Brown Deer Rd in 2015. Yet when the nearby Target store closed months later, she almost lost her business. In late 2017, her boutique moved to its current spot on W. North Ave.
“Traffic was immediately better in my new location,” Evans shared. “But I was still concerned about my business long term. There is so much competition in retail, and you need to stay current with styles and inventory.” She added, “I was always worried about money and what tomorrow would bring.”
In 2018, Evans called LRC and found the help she needed from Terese Caro, LRC’s chief lending officer.
“I’ve talked to lots of banks, and they always rush you off the phone,” Evans said. “But this experience was so different. Terese let me talk for 20 minutes, and she listened. I believe in fate, and I just knew that I should put my trust in Legacy.”
Evans continued, “Terese had me fill out an application and worked with me the whole way. When she called a few months later and told me my loan was approved, I honestly couldn’t believe it.” She added, “I was so used to hearing ‘no’.”
“After listening to Rochelle and learning more about her business journey so far, I felt confident LRC would be able to help her realize her goals,” Caro noted. “She came to us with a sound business plan, a decade of entrepreneurial experience, and the desire to learn and do what it takes to succeed.”
With encouragement from LRC, Evans recently graduated from the SPARC program, a business accelerator focused on growing minority- and women-owned small businesses. SPARC is facilitated by Scale Up Milwaukee, an initiative of the Greater Milwaukee Committee.
“Terese has inspired me in so many ways,” Evans said. “I’ve learned to better budget my money, set goals, and just keep things real. I know I can reach out to her when I need my spirits lifted.” She added, “I feel blessed to have found Legacy.”
Rochelle’s Fashion Boutique is located at 5717 W. North Ave. The shop offers the latest styles in clothing, shoes, and
accessories for women, juniors, and plus sizes, in store and online. Learn more at rochellesfboutique.com.