For Tonya Bryan, owner of Local Motion Boutique, keeping this store recognized and thriving was, and still is, a necessity. As a transplant from out of state, Tonya found the store the first week she moved to Uptown, and it was her go-to spot for fashion for 15 years. When she heard its previous owner was getting close to retirement after three decades in business, she had to save it from closing. Tonya purchased the store, did a remodel and dove into learning the fashion retail business. She had a great mentor in previous owner, Barb Heinrich, who accompanied her on buying trips and getting to know the loyal clientele.
“Local Motion was built by promoting and showcasing local designers, art and jewelry, and it has become an iconic staple in the community,” Tonya says.
She has made it a mission to stay true to the integrity of Local Motion’s roots by continuing to carry brands they have always had like Effie’s Heart, Veronica M. and Cocoon; as well as featuring local jewelers, hats from Twin Cities milliners; and expanding her wall space into a gallery reserved for local artists which rotate every six to 12 weeks.
Showcasing the art started in collaboration with local artists she knew and collected, then expanded into art fair recruiting, and now that Local Motion is known for its art gallery, it continues to grow through word of mouth.
Later this month, she will host the first joint exhibit and showcase local photography. Staying true to the foundation while taking the store to a new generation of shoppers is the goal in mind. Some customers remember shopping there with their moms and now are established enough to build their own wardrobes.
Tonya has put in a new electronic purchasing system and will also take the inventory online so customers can still shop their favorite brands from anywhere. The store will remain current and fresh but will keep its legacy as clientele will still be able to stop in and be styled head to toe as they always have been.
Local Motion is and will always remain a dress shop whether it be “dresses for everyday wear or dresses for events,” Tonya says.
New shoppers at Local Motion Boutique will find that Tonya does her fashion research each season and stocks popular designers from all over the world. She brings in “hot-off-the-runway and Oval Room-style designs at a more reasonable price,” and customers can enjoy looks from Budapest, Turkey, Italy, Spain, Canada and France.
As if all of the above wasn't enough, she is also piling on events and building the store’s social media. Local Motion’s Facebook and Instagram are filled with trends, new merchandise and Facebook Live events. And the events you miss during the week get repeated on the following Saturday.
Pop-ups at the East Isles Farmers Market, Uptown Art Fair and local charity events are also a great place to learn what’s coming down the pipeline. This past year, Local Motion supported several Minnesota Fashion Week events and gave back to charities like Brianna’s Gift and Ziggy’s Art Bus, a traveling vehicle bringing art projects to children with terminal illnesses who are homebound. Local Motion continues to give back to local schools and will remain dedicated to helping the community.
When asked what has brought her the most joy in purchasing the boutique, she says it’s putting the store together, and loving the “puzzle” and the strategy it takes to marry the fashion with the art and community. And definitely, “being in the store and seeing women look and feel amazing when they walk out.”