Off of Central Avenue in rural Killdeer, Aspen Chic Designs welcomes customers at the crossroads of western flair and modern styles. Tattered turquoise, Bohemian chic, denim and cowhide decorate the racks of clothing and custom burnt shelving featuring everything from distressed cowgirl hats to custom-leather bags.
Owned by Courtney Grapentine, Aspen Chic Designs hosted its grand opening Friday, Sept. 3.
Since June, Grapetine and her husband have spent countless hours designing the storefront, interior and doing it all with an eye for creating a western experience for all who enter.
Grapentine began her entrepreneurship by doing local vendor shows in 2018. With a steady momentum and growing customer base, she then purchased an enclosed trailer and started setting her boutique shop up at local rodeos. In March of 2020, after bringing in the clothes for inventory, she realized it was time to think bigger.
After searching for a storefront to rent in June, a building located on Central Avenue had been on sale for about a year. Grapentine’s dream of opening her own business was starting to become a reality.
Coming from a family of entrepreneurs, she knew it was something she’d been destined to do.
“It's been a process over the last three years… We started so small and to where we're at now, you definitely got to keep putting it back into it. And that's pretty much how we've been able to grow is just (by) putting it all back into it,” Grapentine said, adding, “It's long hours, it's not cut out for (those) thinking, ‘Oh,I like clothes, so let's just go and start a store.’ It's a lot; it's definitely a learning process with everything, and how you manage it also. I'm learning everyday still... from bringing inventory in to getting it on the shelf. You have to make sure your packing slips are right; you have to put in your inventory; you have to make sure it's on the website and on the right sales channels. So it's definitely a process.”
Originally from Belle Plaine, Minn., Grapentine came out to North Dakota two weeks after graduating high school in 2013, settling in Killdeer with her now husband, Taylor. She took college courses online and worked at a nursing home, but fashion was always calling her name.
“I've always just loved fashion (and) putting outfits together. My best friend always comes shopping in my closet and she calls it the Courtney Mall. And so, I've always just loved styling things and putting different pieces together to make a cute outfit,” she said.
Now with her new storefront, she hopes to provide an outlet for all types of customers by including various sizes such as 3X and 2X, which are not always available.
“I could even wear them too, so it's frustrating for me sometimes when just the packs are small through large but then I could use an extra large or something. I definitely want to be open to everybody,” Grapentine said.
She added, “I want them to just feel comfortable; they can wear a cute outfit and feel good about themselves is the main thing.”
Inside Aspen Chic Boutique, patterns of denim, cowhide and Aztec are displayed on hangers as well as traces of buffalo plaid.
“How my motto is that we are a western and modern chic boutique because I am from Minnesota, so we weren’t real westerny there at all,” she said, adding, “So I want to incorporate Minnesota and then obviously we're in western North Dakota with that demographic and everything, so I combined the two styles together.”
Grapentine stocks her store inventory with more than 75 different vendors, but she prefers using small and local vendors. She pulls much of her store’s products using a boutique hub. For instance, most of her graphics are made out of people’s small warehouses across the United States.
“Because you have so many boutiques nowadays, and so their model is the community over competition. So I really love their aspect and their whole aspect of everything,” she noted.
Family vendors are also integral to Grapentine’s brand, who incorporates her sister-in-law’s tumblers and her brother’s custom burnt hats. Grapentine and her husband Taylor also contribute to the store by creating custom leather work, such as the purse collection, and blankets.
As the oldest of eight, Grapentine hopes her younger siblings will also want to partake in the store, including her younger brother who is now taking up leather work.
In October, Grapentine will take her brand to Sin City during the Professional Bull Riders Finals. She noted that the Las Vegas venue will be a great opportunity to bring her clothing line to a whole other demographic. Eventually, Grapentine would like to have her boutique line-up stationed at the National Finals Rodeo, Fort Worth Stock Show & Rodeo and Cheyenne Frontier Days.
Down the road, Grapentine hopes to include more of a men’s line into her store as well as carry fire retardants for oilfield workers, accommodating a broader line of customers.
Grapentine and her husband have three children — Aspen (3), Nash (18 months) and Falyn (four months). Her oldest daughter, Aspen, is how the store received its name.
Aspen Chic Designs is located at 42 Central Ave. South in Killdeer. For more information, visit aspenchicdesigns.com or call 612-607-4546.