By Maggie Gebhardt
The Hays Daily News, Kan.
As children, sisters Anissa Pfeifer and Sonia Larcom confided in one another their biggest dreams, in hope that someday all they wished for would become reality.
Those sisterly conversations carried on even into adulthood, and last fall, the two made the decision to stop dreaming and start doing.
“My sister and I were on a walk, and we were talking about what we wanted to do with our lives,” Pfeifer said. “We had always wanted to open a store, so we just finally decided to do something about it.”
After months of research, planning and remodeling, Pfeifer, 23, and Larcom, 21, opened a clothing store in downtown Hill City on Sept. 12.
They decided to name it The Blue Heron Boutique — a title that wraps family memories, values, and the love and respect they have for their mother, all into one.
“It’s my mom’s favorite bird,” Pfeifer said. “Growing up, it was always the coolest thing when we saw Mom’s bird.”
The sisters’ mother, Laura Larcom, said when she was a young girl, a blue heron flew in front of her, and since then, she has loved the bird’s beauty and has always kept an eye out for them.
“When the kids were little, they would start pointing them out, too, and it just kind of became our thing,” Laura said of her daughters. “It’s just one of those little special things.”
Laura was a single mother who raised her children on her own, so when times were tough, the blue heron was a symbol for hope and a ray of light in a dark place, according to Larcom.
“Whenever we saw a blue heron, it just lit my mom’s world up,” she said. “It made her happy and brought her peace.”
The sisters agreed their mother has been their inspiration, and they couldn’t think of anything they would rather do than name the boutique after their mom.
“My kids say I am the one who inspired them, but I’m so inspired by their ambition, the direction they’re going and how humble they are,” the mother said.
Under the name, Pfeifer and Larcom now run the boutique, which has started with a downtown store in Hill City and an online store.
Originally, the duo planned to make the boutique an online store only, but after further consideration, realized face-to-face interaction and communities were far too important.
“If it had only been online, we would have taken away from the community,” Pfeifer said. “We want to be involved and make an impact.”
Her husband, Marcus, helped with much of the remodeling at the Blue Heron Boutique. He welded clothing racks, made the dressing rooms, and built shelving and displays out of barn wood and old tin — creating a rustic, vintage atmosphere.
“I think I’ll keep him around,” Pfeifer said with a laugh. “He’s pretty awesome.”
The sisters said they could not be as successful as they are without the help of employees Aiyana Albrecht, Jennifer Windholz and McKenzie Tremblay.
“They fill in and help run the store,” Pfeifer said. “They are all great, and Aiyana really loves the fashion side. We couldn’t be happier to have them as a part of the team.”
The store carries a variety of clothing including Rivet and UMGEE U.S.A. lines — big boutique names Pfeifer and Larcom said they sell at low prices.
“That’s important to us, making sure fashion is affordable,” Pfeifer said.
Though the sisters already have reached big-time dreams for two women in their early 20s, the ambition and vision doesn’t stop there.
“Within the next year, we’re hoping to open two more stores — one in Hays and one in Tulsa,” Larcom said.
“We want to go huge, and maybe even have our own line one day,” Pfeifer said.
Dreams are attainable no matter who you are or where you come from, according to the women, who said when you have everything to lose, it makes you fight that much harder for it.
“Above all, everything we’ve been able to do is because of strength from God and our mom, and it’s all to give back to the community,” Pfeifer said. “I like that we have our dreams, and we’re going to go after them.
“If you never try, you’ll never know.”
The Blue Heron Boutique, 204 W. Main, Hill City, is open from 10 a.
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m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.
For additional information, visit www.theblueheronboutique.com or The Blue Heron Boutique’s Facebook page.