Business expands, moves after six months

Sassy Pants outgrows former location

Plenty of people warned her not to do it. Lynette TenBrink had a good job with great benefits, but wasn’t happy working in the medical administration field, so she quit to realize her dream of owning a business.

Lynette TenBrink couldn’t be happier about her store, Sassy Pants Boutique, which opened in September 2010. After six months of girls’ clothing, accessories, gifts and custom décor, TenBrink has moved to a larger location at 51-1/2 E. Bridge Street (next to The Sweet Tooth).

After just six months, the business she opened in downtown Rockford, Sassy Pants Boutique, was going so well she needed more space.

“I have a background in interior design and am a people person. I felt I wasn’t using my God-given talents sitting behind a desk,” TenBrink said.

Sassy Pants—offering clothing, accessories, gifts and custom décor—has expanded its inventory to now include infant and toddler clothing. TenBrink has finished moving Sassy Pants from the former location at 49-1/2 E. Bridge Street to 51-1/2 E. Bridge Street in the same building. There she has more space to show off the “fun and funky yet sweet and girly” clothing and accessories she finds.

TenBrink believes her success, in part, is the result of carrying items shoppers can’t find anywhere else in Rockford or anywhere in West Michigan for that matter. She also tries to stock goods made right here in the United States. The list of vendors with “Made in the USA” products is lengthy and includes Betsy Bee, Blink, Area Code 407, Girl Friends, Nano, Weboos Shoes, Sweet Petunia, Twirly Girl, Purple Pixies, Libertalia, Gypsy Daisy, and many more.

TenBrink has always wanted to own a business in downtown Rockford. She is thrilled by the many events and activities here as well as the quality of shopping that Rockford offers.

“The support of the other businesses in downtown Rockford has been amazing during my first six months,” TenBrink said. She also appreciates the relationships she has developed with her customers.

“When I opened, Sassy Pants was strictly a ‘tween’ shop,” TenBrink said. “I had so many requests to offer smaller sizes that I added 4 to 6X.”

TenBrink said she then had requests to go even smaller with her sizes, so she has recently added infant and toddler to the mix. The boutique also now carries baby gifts for both genders.

“People call us a young Jade,” said TenBrink, “which is a huge compliment to me, considering the success Julie Cronkright has had.”

Stephanie Birkmeier and Jessica Wangeman, both 17, of Rockford show off some of the sweet styles at Sassy Pants.

With ear-piercing and accessories that appeal to all ages on up through adults, the store attracts a wide variety of clients. The boutique offers specials during the week of your birthday and shopping rewards with dollars spent. Sassy Pants is also going to be launching a new “buy back” program for their customers. Stop by the store for details.

Spring business is already booming, and TenBrink said hot colors for kids this season are fuchsia, yellow, turquoise, lime green and also there a lot of pastels showing up as well as the ever popular black.

TenBrink said she appreciates the supportive nature of the community and complimented her landlord for doing everything he could to make the transition to the new space a quick and pleasant one. The space was previously occupied for 17 years by The Rockford Squire before another tenant moved in for a while. TenBrink noted that she has photographers sending her referrals, suggesting their subjects choose outfits from Sassy Pants for their photo shoots.

TenBrink has yet to experience a summer season with her thriving new business. “I’m coming into my first summer and I’m really excited by that. I know Rockford is amazing in the summer.”

Sassy Pants is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. until 7 p.m., and Saturdays from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. You can visit their website at sassypantsgirlsboutique.com, or their Facebook page. Join the boutique for its fashion show at Reds on the River on April 30 from 2 to 4 p.m. Contact Sassy Pants for your reservation for the show, as space is limited. The store can be reached at (616) 433-9750.

“A lot of people said I was crazy,” TenBrink said, “being a single mom with three kids and having a great job with great pay and benefits. I decided, though, that I wouldn’t listen to negative talk, and go for my dream. So I put my big girl pants on, prayed a lot and went for it.”

Open less than a year, Sassy Pants has proven those nay-sayers wrong. For that, TenBrink couldn’t be happier. “I feel truly blessed,” said TenBrink.

 

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