Resort-Town Boutique Lives for the Weekends
By Jessica Harlan
It’s always the weekend at 52 Up North Weekends, a gift and apparel boutique on the shores of Lake Charlevoix in Michigan, where the customer base is made up largely of vacation homeowners and tourists. Lori Herrington has owned the business since 2008, and at one point ran three locations before scaling back to one shop. After graduating from college, her daughter, Lindsey Bell, joined the company.
What is your store known for?
Unique and unusual gifts, made-in-Michigan items and casual, vacation vibe
clothing. Our customer base averages from 45 to 65 years of age.
How would you describe the atmosphere of your store?
My husband came up with the tagline, “Live life for the weekend,” and we try to aspire to that motto. The shop is fun, casual and relaxing. When you walk in, you’re mmediately comfortable. As for fixtures, we tend to use company-issued ones. When I feature a line, I go in heavy with their branding.
To what do you attribute your success?
I really know our customers, and I don’t personally buy things that I would like to wear or that I want for myself; I buy things my customers want. I’ve been a buyer since I was 16, so I’ve gotten good at creating a visual in my head of my customer and what she wants.
How do you promote your store?
Email and Facebook have been our strongest sources of reach. I also do Instagram reels and Tik Tok videos every day. Our customer loyalty program, which includes over 3000 customers, works to keep shoppers coming back. When a customer
spends $200, they get a $20 voucher for the store.
What has been your most successful recent event?
For nearly a decade, we’ve participated in our town’s “Earlier than the Bird” shopping event, which is the weekend before Thanksgiving and involves special sales and promotions. Stores open at 7 a.m. and everyone wears pajamas. In fact,
you have to wear them in order to get the promotions. We wrap boxes like presents and fill them with slippers, socks and the like and have deals like “Buy One, Get One Free.” People buy them by the armloads.
How do you stay inspired?
With every new season, I feel like an artist and the store is my blank palette. My daughter and I travel to shows together and really get into the trends. We love to come back to the store and see how we can bring it all together. Our passion for what we sell is infectious. Customers hear us talking about a product and they’ll
say, “I want one of those!”