By Jordan Gerard
Editor, The Caledonia Argus
A warm cozy space on Main Street in Spring Grove opens up to a boutique and salon with West Main.
West Main Boutique is in the place of the former Calluna store and several other businesses that had the honor of occupying that space. However, it has a whole new style and feel.
“I wanted to move uptown because I love Spring Grove,” West Main owner Jenn Gulbranson said. “It was time for me to grow into a space where I could be seen and heard a little bit more.”
Gulbranson’s former space, the Stratford Salon, was located outside of town on the Stratford Farm for the past 15 years. Now it’s included with the new boutique.
Though she misses the charm of that location, she has been enjoying her salon “in the heart of Spring Grove where the action was.”
Walking into West Main, customers are greeted with an entirely remodeled interior featuring exposed brick, new flooring, a bathroom on the main level and a salon in the back.
The large space allows for featured clothing items like sweaters, cardigans, denim, hats, shoes and kids clothes. There’s also a dressing room for customers to try-before-you-buy.
Leading down the hallway and to the back of the building is a two-chair salon, where Gulbranson does her handiwork including cuts (kids, women and men), coloring, waxing and prom and wedding updos. Since there are two chairs in the salon, Gulbranson said she’s looking to bring another stylist on board.
“Styling is my passion. I love finishing hairstyles,” she said. “Before and afters are fun. I love big changes.”
There’s also a space for Reiki (pronounced RAY-kee), a Japanese healing technique for stress reduction, relaxation, pain reduction and healing, says Ashley Proulx of 3 Hearts Love LLC who will be occupying that space. Proulx is a certified Reiki Master, and Masters-prepared Registered Nurse (MSN, RN).
Different from typical massage therapy, Reiki is administered by laying on hands and aiding in ensuring life force energy is flowing and chakras are open, she explained.
“Blocked or slow flowing energy can lead to illness, pain, disease and/or physical discomfort,” Proulx said.
In addition to practicing as a Reiki Master, Proulx is also a registered nurse and is a true believer in Western medicine, but also believes “the best of you comes from a clean running spirit as well.”
“We have energy fields running through our body. In Western medicine it’s called bio-fields. In Eastern medicine it’s called chakras and meridians,” Proulx said. “If we are blocked, we have further symptoms.”
Proulx said she experienced Reiki first before she learned how to practice it. She said the best way to learn was to have a “true hands on experience” with someone who is at the master level in person over the course of time. For Proulx, that person was Reiki Master Shannon Amberg, PhD.
Once Proulx attained the master level, she started her practice, 3 Hearts Love LLC in 2019.
Proulx emphasized the technique is not necessarily a massaging of tissue, but it’s really about the shifting of energy.
“When you think about your energy level, your aura ... someone enters your space, your bio-field, if they’re too close to you, you know that feeling,” she said. “Reiki allows you to open up and get movement going again.”
She added the technique is also becoming widely used in hospitals for patients expecting surgeries or cancer treatments because it’s a calming experience and reduces stress and pain levels.
Also helping out in the boutique is Spring Grove High School junior Piper Thompson. Thompson’s work study allows her to learn about the process of managing a business and how Gulbranson got to this point. She’s excited to work and help out, she said.
Gulbranson said in addition to having the salon and boutique in town, she’ll just enjoy having a space that’s “much more inviting.”
“Being on Main Street, having the foot traffic and ability for customers and clients, friends and family to sit by the fireplace and have a space everyone wants to be in that I want to be in,” she said. “I really want people to come in and hang out. I love drinking coffee and sitting by the fireplace.”
West Main’s clothing options have a seasonal flare to them, as on the grand opening day on Jan. 23 featured warm sweaters, fashionable snow boots and pairs of jeans on the racks.
Gulbranson said she’s more of a “time capsule wardrobe” person. Her items often blend into each season and are things people can keep in their closets for years to come because of the quality.
She hopes to go to market at least four times a year to add new things to the boutique.
“Get it when you see it,” she said. “They’re one-of-a-kind pieces.”
The salon and boutique will have slightly different hours from each other with the salon hours at Monday through Friday all day and the boutique open from 1 to 6 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays and then open 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Saturdays.
Clients at the salon can also shop while they wait for their appointments, and they might get sneak peeks at new items, Gulbranson said.
“I want the whole salon and spa experience,” she added. “Shop around, be here, visit, try things on.”
To make the space into what it is today took about two months of work. Everything was updated in the process including a complete gut-out job, ripping out two layers of drop ceiling, new sheetrock on the main floor, hammering plaster off the brick, ripping out the floor, updating the electrical, adding a bathroom on the main floor and finally, redoing the plumbing for the salon.
But the work doesn’t stop there. The Gulbransons plan to remodel the front entrance and restore it to a historic setting when the front had double doors and big glass windows.
Gulbranson’s husband Nels did about 90% of the work including laying the floor by hand, trim work, painting and more. Another big help to getting the boutique and salon started were the parents, who helped with cleaning and babysitting.
Additionally, 80 to 90% of the construction materials, electrical and plumbing came from local sources including Grove Plumbing, Tony Konkel Forestry, Viking Electric Inc. and Spring Grove Lumber.
“We wanted to support our local community and what they all have to offer without reaching to anyone else,” Gulbranson said.
Gulbranson hopes to host a few events in the coming months, which could range from making chunky blankets to a private ladies night. She’s taking ideas and has encouraged guests to ask about upcoming events.
One of those ideas is a Valentine’s Day open house with other businesses in Spring Grove. The night will feature a punch card and when all holes are punched, drop the card off at West Main on Saturday, Feb. 15 to win prizes.
She also hopes to display the work of an artist in residency in the boutique for a month where the artist can display their craft specialty.
Follow West Main on Facebook for hours, store information and new items.