Shimmer and Sheek opens new downtown Tuscola location
By Dominik Stallings
Shimmer and Sheek celebrated the opening of their new store-front location at 101 N. Main St. in Tuscola on Tuesday, Feb. 14.
The boutique carries women’s clothing and caters to all ages, with tops, jeans, dresses, and jewelry. One of the co-owners, Taylor Reifsteck, said that they focus on casual, everyday wear, rather than high-end fashion. Taylor said the business tries to find affordable yet trendy fashion pieces.
The store also carries Illini merchandise and also tries to find clothing in the Illini colors for fans who want to support their college team without any logos.
“That’s the draw of being a boutique. Finding the unique and different pieces,”
Taylor and her mother, Jennifer Reifsteck, are co-owners of the store. Taylor said they first started the business online in May 2019 and worked out of her mother’s basement.
“We just jumped in and we kind of transformed our basement into racks and a shipping station and everything,” said Jennifer. “She was the brains behind the website and getting all that going.”
They remained an online-only business for three years before finding their first storefront location at 210 N. Main St. in 2021.
“I never thought I would ever open a store-front, but I’m really glad we have a brick-and-mortar store,” said Taylor. “Moving here was the best business decision we ever made.”
Taylor said she started the boutique when she was going to Eastern Illinois University for a degree in fashion merchandising. She also made fashion design sketches during her time in college and learned more about fashion. She was also working at Matrices, getting hands-on experience in running a clothing store while learning the theory of running a business.
“I love making displays and putting clothing on for people,” said Taylor.
Since running the store, she’s learned a lot about the fashion tastes of the people living in Tuscola.
Kaitlyn Reifsteck, Taylor’s sister, helps out when she isn’t at college. Tim Reifsteck, Jennifer’s husband, helped remodel the new location in January.
“It’s a very family-oriented business. Everyone has a hand in it,” said Taylor.
Having Tim do the remodeling saved the business a lot of money, but they were closed in January, making it a difficult month.
Shimmer and Sheek’s online store is slated to open in the coming month. Taylor said she also hopes to do more events with other businesses downtown, like the successful “Galentines” event in February. She also hopes to start a fall festival, where craft vendors and food trucks can gather, to liven up downtown Tuscola. She was hoping to start it in the spring, but the renovations made planning difficult.
The business owners said many people are surprised that the two of them are able to work together so well.
“Honestly, we always had a unique and special relationship. We get along really well. It’s been really great,” said Jennifer. Taylor said they each have strengths and weaknesses and make up for each other.
Taylor describes her mom as the creative one who thinks outside the box, while Jennifer describes her daughter as the “boss.”
Jennifer was also the one who encouraged Taylor to follow her dream of opening a boutique and agreed to help in her endeavor.
When Taylor wanted to start her online store, Jennifer told her, “If you want to do this. Go for it. See what happens.”