Owner Talks New Location, Diverse Line of Products
Photographer / Ellie Sophia Photography
Michele Isenhower is a champion for downtown Zionsville and all it has to offer. Her store, Michele’s on Main, is not only a well-loved boutique in the village, but it also has an interesting backstory of female entrepreneurism. After almost six years at her former location at the north end of Main Street, she has moved to 285 South Main. Situated just across from the Friendly Tavern, Isenhower is enjoying the larger space and increased visibility.
“The new location is where Siro’s Chic Boutique was,” Isenhower says. “I took the space over last September. It’s in the main area of Zionsville, so it’s a better location. The store is bigger, and the parking and traffic flow is better.”
Isenhower developed an admiration for the charm of Zionsville when she worked at Watts Christmas Tree Farm before earning a business degree. Later, she found herself in the corporate world while meeting the demands of raising a family. The concept of owning a retail business that would allow her to work fewer hours and enable her to supervise her two sons’ activities appealed to her. When her idea of being a business owner did come to pass, she realized it didn’t reduce her time working, but it did give her more flexibility.
“I had a desire to spend more time with my family,” Isenhower says. “I wanted to work a 40-hour week instead of an over-70-hour one. I didn’t realize the huge number of hours I would work owning my own business. I consulted with a business broker who found a craft store in Brownsburg. It seemed more like a gift store to me and it soon evolved into Michele’s Boutique and Gifts, and has now been in existence for nineteen years.”
Isenhower soon developed a relationship with Kathy Brown, the former owner of Browns on Main in Zionsville. Both women carried the Vera Bradley line of handbags and luggage products, so they helped each other supply what their customers wanted. When Brown was ready to close her shop, she approached Isenhower about taking her space at 40 North Main Street.
“When I took over Kathy’s store and changed the name to Michele’s on Main, 70 percent of the merchandise in the store was Vera Bradley,” Isenhower says. “I brought in several lines of apparel and diversified the options customers had. I chose brands I loved and was passionate about.
Today, Michele’s on Main customers have many choices from brands not found in other boutiques. Since Isenhower has established herself as a successful business owner, she is able to carry lines such as Brighton, Alex and Ani, Hobo, Simply Southern, Frank Lyman and Kendra Scott. Most of her merchandise is in the $30 to $50 price range, but she is glad to accommodate former Siro’s Chic Boutique patrons by carrying a few items from the previous store, besides filling requests through ordering online.
“People need to continue to support local businesses on Main Street in Zionsville,” Isenhower says. “The boutiques and restaurants offer a charming destination experience you can’t get from shopping at a big-box store or online. People need to spend their money where it counts.”