For 16 years, abaTina Boutique has been a beloved local spot for customers to browse, shop, and find a little bliss in Colorado Springs. Owner Tina Fredrickson spent those years pouring her heart and soul into the store and building lifelong relationships with customers. Now, she believes it’s time to move on.
In a recent newsletter, Fredrickson and her daughter and store manager, Jen Johnstone, announced they are looking for a passionate individual interested in buying abaTina.
“We are looking to hand the reins over to a new buyer who will take what we’ve built, bring their unique charms to it, and propel abaTina Boutique to even greater heights,” the letter stated.
“If you, or a group of you, have ever dreamed of owning your own boutique, the timing of our decision couldn’t be better. We are just about to enter the most profitable time of year for retail, and we have done all the hard work to ensure you have a strong fourth quarter. The transfer will be easy, and you can immediately step in and enjoy the best season of the year.” (Read more here: bit.ly/359fIlP)
Established out of a passion for small business and a desire to create an environment where customers can find an escape, abaTina was a dream of Fredrickson’s for years. Transitioning ownership has been a difficult concept to grasp, she said.
“It’s time for me to focus a little more on my health and wellbeing, my family, my friends — all those things that have to take second place when you’re involved with an endeavor like this,” Fredrickson said.
The store began as an idea discussed over dinners and time spent with Johnstone’s daughter. Over the years, the mother-daughter duo has seen the store grow from pipe dream to reality.
“We started talking about it earnest probably 17 or 18 years ago,” Johnstone said. “We had to pinch ourselves that what we dreamt up on the couch actually became a thing.”
The name abaTina was created to have business cards for their first market trip. The name stuck, becoming what Johnstone calls a “unique name for a unique business.”
“One of my mom’s friends said, ‘every time I walk into your house, I just feel ahh,’ so it became ‘ah’ with Tina all squished together in one indecipherable word,” Johnstone said.
Johnstone and Fredrickson hope that anyone that walks into abaTina feels that same relaxing, refreshing feeling that inspired the name.
“People will come there just to get away from their bad day or their troubles, or just a respite they feel really comfortable and have interesting things to look at,” Fredrickson said. “And that’s just been such a thrill for me to have that response and to create that. Because that’s what I look for when I go into a store.”
That sense of community and escape has been especially crucial amid the coronavirus pandemic. After a few weeks of offering online shopping and Facebook Live videos, abaTina reopened on May 1 to the excitement of many customers — regular and new.
“Even having to wear and mask and use hand sanitizer and limiting the number of people in the store, it makes everybody feel a little bit of normal,” Johnstone said. “People really enjoy it, and it’s a little bit of an escape.”
As for the products, Johnstone and Fredrickson choose items that evoke an emotional response that they hope abaTina customers will also experience. They want the items sold at abaTina to resonate with the shoppers, whether they’re looking for a gift for someone else or a personal treasure.
“It’s really not about stuff,” Johnstone said. “It’s about that emotional connection to things. We also look for companies that have a story — that are giving back or doing wonderful things out in the world.”
One of the store’s newest items comes from a Detroit-based organization called Mend on the Move. The nonprofit organization employs women who’ve survived abusive relationships to make jewelry using used car parts. Mend on the Move helps teach women a new skill while building confidence and empowering them to rebuild their lives.
In addition to finding great products supporting a great cause, the abaTina team also creates product bundles. One bundle, called “books and buddies,” encourages children to engage and enjoy reading time.
“With Tina’s background as an elementary school educator and librarian, one of our top sellers throughout the history of the store has been a plush animal paired with a children’s book,” Johnstone said.
What started as a 600-square-foot space with a small selection of products has turned into an expansive boutique filled with various items for all types of shoppers. The store’s success and its loyal customer base are the foundations that Fredrickson and Johnstone hope propel the new owner to continue growing the business into the future.
AbaTina — and the entire team at the store — have become such a beloved cornerstone in the community that customers and friends were initially sad to hear the news. But Johnstone reassured them that they will still be there, committed to providing the same service and passion as always.
“Our hope is to find the right fit of a new buyer that will take what we’ve started and take it to the next level,” Johnstone said. “We’re not planning on just locking the doors and walking away. We’re committed to being there for our customers.
“As the store manager, I’m fully committed to being there for the transition and teaching them the tricks we’ve learned over 16 years. I anticipate that other than a retirement party for Tina, it’ll be a pretty seamless transition.”
If you have serious interest in this opportunity to buy the shop, contact Fredrickson at [email protected]