The Ashland Beacon
If you peer through the window at the Camayo Arcade, you’ll find more than clothing, party supplies, gifts, candies, and popcorn. You’ll find an inviting vibe: one that evokes happy. Walking in only furthers that emotion in the Leander Blue Boutique that nears one year in business, but has been so much longer in the making.
“Since I was young, I’ve always had some kind of side business,” says Leander Blue Boutique owner, Monica Evans, who also works a full-time job sharing, “My mom and I did a direct sales company for about three years and it was clothing. We stopped selling it about the time I was diagnosed with Lymphoma.” During that time, Evans left the Tri-State to reside in Houston to receive treatment at the MD Anderson Center. While in Houston, she started transitioning her vision from clothing to something else. “I wanted to do more than just clothing, but I had a customer base for clothing,” Evans recalls, “I started the business while in Houston, and it just developed from there.”
Ashland became the home for the boutique because she’d first been to a baby shower at the Camayo Arcade years ago, later rented a storage space upstairs for her clothing business, and when she returned from Houston, the current space had just become available. The timing was perfect and Leander Blue went from online in nature to a business that had a home.
“Response has been great. People love the shop, they think it’s happy,” Evans explained, “They like the vibe in here.” As you walk around the store, you understand exactly why. There’s party stuff, which Evans says has really taken off, partially because it’s not what they have in the box stores, but rather unique and innovative supplies for any occasion: birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, holidays, and nearly any event you can think of. “We just kinda have a higher end of party supplies,” She shared.
In addition to the supplies, there’s a special consideration given to balloons! You can even find the big jumbo confetti balloons and big number balloons.
In addition to party supplies, you can also find something to wear to that party. The clothing lines are size inclusive with sizes from extra small through women’s 3XL.
Like all businesses, Covid took its toll on business, as the boutique closed from March to late May, but Evans elaborates, “Shockingly, I wasn’t sure what the response would be amidst Covid opening back up. People were so happy to be out of their house. It was so refreshing to open back up. People were just happy to see other people they hadn’t been quarantined with. It’s been really great.” Precautions are taken, but business is growing.
“I want to keep growing the business,” Evans expands, “We’ve just got the stuff to do yard cards, so we’re going to start that. We want to do what we’ve been doing, but even bigger. Always growing.”
As for the name, it’s a family thing. “Leander Blue comes from my grandparents,” Evans explains, “Leander is a name on my grandpa’s side of the family. I think I got my work ethic from him. He was an entrepreneur and just the hardest worker I ever knew.” She continued, “My granny, who had a big impact on my life. Blue is the last name on her side. I was doing genealogy stuff when I started this, and I put the names together.”
A boutique that was created and developed during a battle with cancer, and survived a global pandemic, and still delivers a happy vibe is certainly something everyone could use. Check out Leander Blue Boutique at the Camayo Arcade on Winchester Avenue, or on Facebook at LeanderBlueBoutique, or at Leanderblue.com.