I’m always on the lookout for women owned and operated businesses here in East Texas. That’s what brought me into Spruce Boutique in Lufkin, Texas. I first saw them on Instagram and was immediately drawn to the classic styles that combine both fun and classic elements. I can see why Spruce appeals to a wide variety of clientele. In fact, co-owner Nicole Carter said the typical age range of shoppers is between 20 and 65. There are not many boutiques where mother and daughter can comfortably shop together. As a matter of fact, you can go so far as to say clientele is as young as a few months old since Spruce offers a beautiful collection of baby clothes and hand picked goods. At one time children’s clothing was available but they quickly learned the competition from big box stores like Old Navy and Target for that demographic was too great. They have been asked to expand to menswear and more home decor but for now Nicole and co-owner, Sarah Levine are happy with the niche they have created with Spruce.
I was curious how the two business partners and best friends came up with the idea to open a boutique. Nicole credits Sarah with the original idea to open a shop in her hometown of Lufkin. With Nicole’s degree in fashion merchandising and business from SFA coupled with Sarah’s graphic design degree from Baylor the pair were armed with the tools they needed. It only took about 4-5 months from vision to fruition. Spruce is in its second location, right off the square downtown. When I mentioned how quaint the area is dotted with specialty stores, shops and restaurants, Nicole said the community has really come together to invest in and help revitalize the downtown area. This is becoming more apparent when you see all upcoming events the City has to offer, particularly in the month of December when Lufkin hosts, “Christmas in the Pines”. Outgrowing their original space after nearly 3 years the new location boasts plenty of room to grow and a fabulous mural on the side of the building that is begging for photo ops. The dynamic duo had a friend draw up the design but they painted it themselves.
When I asked if there is anything these 2 super Moms couldn’t do, Nicole admitted they both play to their strengths. They go to Dallas Market 3 times per year to restock and allow each other 2 vetoes per person, avoiding any disagreements. This give and take mentality has worked out well and they are quick to say they couldn’t do it alone. Both Nicole and Sarah have families of their own and balancing motherhood and business ownership isn’t always easy. That’s where the rest of their team comes in, with 5 people total operating the busy boutique. While it remains challenging, motherhood is actually what inspired them both to jump into business ownership. Nicole and her husband have 3 girls under 11 while Sarah and her husband have a boy and a girl under 7. They both wanted to show their kids what they are capable of and be their own bosses.
The pair have learned so much along the way and Spruce has evolved in order to keep growing. Online sales is the next big project to tackle and they are gearing up to launch that portion of their website before the end of the year. When they are not busy with the boutique and family they are grateful that Spruce has offered a gateway to contribute directly to their community. Some of the non-profits they have worked with include, Harold’s House East Texas Alliance for Children. This children’s advocacy center is devoted to serve child victims of sexual/physical abuse. The Mosaic Center is dedicated to educating and encouraging women with life and job skills in order to give them the opportunity to be more financially independent. I love the idea of supporting a small, local business that invests back into the community. Next time you are in Lufkin, stop by and shop knowing your purchase will come full circle.
112 S. First Street
Lufkin, Texas 75901
Social media @sprucelufkin