by Cori Hilsgen
Two local sisters, Jodi Brinkman and Cheryl Wilhelmi, have opened Sisters and Co., a consignment boutique on Minnesota Street.
The boutique sells gently-used, name-brand clothing and accessories which the sisters accept on a consignment basis. Most items are geared toward women, but they also have a small men’s section in the boutique.
Items are brought in regularly, so their inventory is constantly changing. Since space is limited in the store, the sisters said they are very selective about what they accept.
“We are constantly evaluating and making changes as we learn the business, and we are having a lot of fun with it,” Brinkman said.
Brinkman and Wilhelmi grew up in a family of 15 children, 10 girls and 5 boys, on a dairy farm near Bertha. Both graduated from Bertha-Hewitt High School and St. Cloud State University.
They said their family bought new clothes at the beginning of each school year, but the girls borrowed and traded a lot of clothing between themselves.
The sisters realized consignment-store shopping has become very popular recently as savvy shoppers consider both the money-saving benefits, as well as the ecological benefits of reusing and recycling. Since they both enjoy going to consignment shops and had talked about opening their our own store for a while, they decided to give it a try when the current space on Minnesota Street became available.
They chose the St. Joseph location because they both live in the area and like the town and people. The fact St. Joseph is a growing and thriving community was an important consideration when they decided to open the boutique.
They said local businesses have been very welcoming and supportive.
Malcolm Haviland from the United Kingdom stopped to visit the store shortly after the sisters opened. He was traveling in his recreational vehicle, which he had purchased locally. His trip included stops in Pennsylvania; Niagra Falls, N.Y.; Chicago; St. Joseph and Avon, Minn.; Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming; the Grand Canyon in Arizona; Las Vegas, Nev.; and more.
He asked the sisters if they had any jumpers. After some confusion and laughter, he explained a jumper is a pullover-type sweater. Brinkman and Wilhelmi showed him some examples of what their version of jumpers look like.
The store is currently open 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Thursdays, 11 a.m.-4 p.m. Fridays and 10 a.m.-1 p.m. Saturdays. Brinkman and Wilhelmi are hoping to expand their hours soon, and they sometimes open the store as they work on new items which have come in. If the open sign is out, people should feel free to stop in and check out the store.