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Former Vanity co-workers opening new clothing boutique in Fargo

Jill Shea (left) and Laura Polanski will open Fargo women's clothing boutique Leela & Lavender in late October at 3265 45th St. S. Special to The Forum

FARGO—After the demise of Vanity, two friends with decades of retail experience are preparing to open their own women's clothing boutique in south Fargo with the goal of opening several more stores in other cities.

Jill Shea and Laura Polanski worked together for about 12 years in specialty store retail and have a combined total of about 35 years experience in the industry, according to Shea. The two most recently worked at Fago-based Vanity, but when that women's clothing business with about 140 stores around the country closed in March, they wanted to do something on their own.

"It was an opportunity to create a real special retail experience for the customers, something that's unique and not existing currently in Fargo," Shea said.

The business partners will open their first store, Leela & Lavender, in late October, setting up the business in the new The Shoppes at BLU Water Creek complex, 3265 45th St. S., at the corner of 32nd Avenue South and 45th Street South.

Shea said Leela & Lavender will stand out in town because of its focus on creating a "style adventure" for shoppers, meaning it'll have a wide variety of styles, price ranges and sizes that aim to offer something for any woman.

"We want to be able to be a one-stop style shop for our customers," she said.

Shea said they see the forthcoming Fargo store as a "proof of concept," and they hope to open one new store each year over the next five years in other cities in the region.

Ryan Johnson

Ryan Johnson has been a Forum reporter since 2012 and previously wrote for the Grand Forks Herald.

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