Tara Gates said she has always wanted to open a boutique, and when her husband bought the Fenske Road property for his own business, Cut Above Landscaping & Irrigation, the small house on-site seemed like the perfect opportunity to pursue the endeavor with her mother, Teresa Dornak.
The duo said they knew marketing would be a challenge, but they never could have predicted COVID-19 restrictions six weeks after opening.
“We agreed to try it for a year—probably the worst year you could do this,” Dornak said.
Customers continued to place online orders during the shutdown, and Gates said she delivered packages to local residents herself.
Gates said the first year of business has been all about “going with the flow,” and while some restrictions are still in place, she is looking forward to executing their big ideas in the new year.
Because of the unique property on which the boutique sits, there is space to host private events, vendor fairs for local small businesses and seasonal photoshoots, she said. Dornak’s ultimate goal is to expand the shop to add on a tea room.
For now, The Rustic House Boutique strives to be a one-stop shop for women’s fashion and unique gifts for everyone. Popular merchandise ranges from Judy Blue jeans and custom T-shirts to dough bowl candles Dornak makes herself, bags made from military tents and porcelain diffusers.
“Everybody comes in and wants something different,” Gates said. “It just depends who walks in the door.”
The Rustic House Boutique, 18922 Fenske Road, Cypress. 832-725-5270. www.therustichouseboutique.com