In the weeks leading up to the start of the school year, young women filed in and out of Image Boutique, the newest store on the downtown Gainesville square.
The women’s fashion boutique at 108 Washington St. in Gainesville is owned and operated by Shannon Faile with her husband Scott. They have lived and worked in Hall County for nearly a decade.
“We opened our first store three years ago,” Shannon Faile said. “We have one in the Flowery Branch-Braselton area that my husband and I decided to open. We had always talked about opening a small business, but we weren’t sure exactly what we wanted to do.”
Faile was a teacher at Gainesville High School for eight years, while her husband worked full time. One of their initial goals in owning their own business was having the freedom to do more mission work. Finally, they were inspired to start Image by their 19- and 20-year-old daughters.
“We thought, you know, there was no really cute boutique in the South Hall area at the time,” Faile said. “You had to go to the mall or to come up to Gainesville. The area was growing so fast and we had girls, so we knew clothes. The four of us sat down together to talk about it, and we thought it was something we could probably do.”
The first location opened in 2013, and Faile said it has “done really well” since.
“People in the area are great, and all so supportive and always so kind,” she said.
Faile said her husband had the idea to expand after three successful years in the store located at 7338 Spout Springs Road in Flowery Branch.
After much discussion and prayer, Faile said the store in Gainesville almost “fell into our laps.”
“I decided for me, it was something I could probably do full time,” Faile said. “So I stopped teaching this year and will just really focus on this and grow it. I know people here because we’ve been here eight years, and I love the community and the people.”
Image Boutique has women’s clothing ranging from casual shorts and jeans to more formal dresses, plus accessories including shoes, hats, purses and jewelry.
The store has an updated, modern feel, with shoes displayed on a pallet-board wall and purses hanging from wooden pegs.
Faile said products are suitable for women of all ages, and her customers range in age from 13 to 75 years old.
She had two main goals with the store — to make it accessible to women of all ages and to make it affordable.
“I really think when products come in, ‘What would I pay for that?’” she said. “It’s not a profit thing, it about what I think is a good price for an item.”
Faile said she believes the store, which opened held a grand opening July 22, is “a great second location.” It joins several other women’s fashion boutiques on the square, but Faile said she hopes to offer something different.
“I do hope we’re different enough, but complementary to the other stores on the square,” she said.