Though it’s changed locations three times over the last decade or so, you can always hear music when you walk into the Felt Bird in downtown Enid.
For 11 years, Riley and Stela Jantzen have owned their self-described “hipster boutique” and gift shop, now located at 222 W. Randolph. The couple sells clothing, jewelry, cards, books, candles and a hodgepodge of household decor, some of which with sayings that can’t be printed in this newspaper. Riley also runs his freelance marketing and design business and operates a screen printer in the back half of the building.
“With boutiques, it’s probably the most fun industry, because our job is to make people happy, for the most part,” Riley said before closing Saturday afternoon, while organizing newly tagged necklaces Stela had ordered on the counter.
Both Enid area natives felt there once wasn’t a reason to come downtown, but after leaving for school came to see the area’s potential: as an atmosphere of “cool boutiques and great restaurants,” like other cities’ downtowns they’d seen outside of Enid.
“I think there were probably three boutiques down here at the time we opened up, and now there’s at least a couple per block,” Riley said, adding that it’s a national trend for boutiques to open downtown. “It’s a good fit for each other.”
Azalea Park Boutique opened in March at 124 N. Independence next door to Lux Boutique, while another boutique, Boho Teepee, is several doors down the street. Rustic Touch sits farther south on the corner, but is currently closed until further notice due to a COVID-19 outbreak.
Several others are sprinkled throughout the area, including Okie Babe, B Hip Kids, She, the Turquoise Boutique and Sunny Souls Boutique, the latter of which opened over a week ago.
A bounty of boutiques selling wholesale-purchased retail apparel — mainly for women and children — have cropped up throughout downtown within the last several years, becoming a mini-market in Enid’s most prominent business neighborhood.
Music tends to play over speakers at many of these upscale, tidily decorated shops, just as something along the lines of “reasonable prices” tends to come up when talking to many of their owners.
Azalea Park owner Kaycee Adams and her sister, Elyse McCart, wanted to offer products that Adams said her neighboring stores didn’t already have, at a more affordable price.
“Yes, there are a ton of boutiques, but it wasn’t necessarily my style,” Adams said about why she decided to open her store. “There was really nowhere for young people (to shop) if you want to go to the bar like in Oklahoma City.”
The sisters opened the store the same month the COVID-19 pandemic forced all businesses to close. The two sold their products online, “like everybody else,” until May.
She and other boutiques downtown have said their online presence helped them stay in business and welcome new clientele during the pandemic.
“It really does depend on what generation you’re from,” Turquoise Boutique employee Hannah Barton said. “We