Clothing store brings high fashion to downtown Polson

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    The Rack owner Shawneen Turner opened the doors to her new clothing store in early April. (Brett Berntsen/Lake County Leader)

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    The Rack owner Shawneen Turner opened the doors to her new clothing store in early April. (Brett Berntsen/Lake County Leader)

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As the weather warms around the Mission Valley, local residents have another opportunity to revamp their summer wardrobe with the opening of Polson’s newest clothing store, The Rack.

Offering a blend of modern fashion in a rustic setting, the store is beginning to make a splash since celebrating a ribbon cutting in early April.

“It’s been better than I could have hoped for,” owner Shawneen Turner said. “Word is starting to get out.”

The business represents the culmination of a long-held dream for Turner, who spent the last few years raising her children as a stay-at-home mom. Turner said she decided to open a clothing store out of a desire for both a lifestyle change and chance to boost Polson’s shopping options. Drawing from experience working as a home decorator in her native Canada, Turner enlisted her husband and local contractor Stephen to remodel the historic storefront at 308 Main Street.

“I tried to think of everything that I would want from a clothing store,” she said.

This includes spacious dressing rooms, upbeat music, a kids play area and a rewards program for loyal customers.

Turner also personally designed her store logo, which has become popular addition to The Rack’s trademark tank tops. Originally meant as a double-entendre involving a clothes rack and a set of antlers, Turner said the logo has taken on a third meaning due to its appearance on the front of women’s shirts.

“Nobody thinks of a clothes rack anymore,” she said.

This playful nature was enough to charm customer Sherry Smith, who stopped into the shop while window shopping along Main Street on a recent weekday morning.

After sending a few photos of the tank tops to her daughters in Oregon, Smith said she was inundated with eager texts.

“They keep asking if they have them in this style or that color,” Smith said.

Originally from Polson, Smith said the new store fulfills a need for high-end clothing in a relaxing atmosphere. The homegrown style of Turner’s clothes added an addition appeal.

“It’s nice to get a gift that feels like it’s from Montana,” Smith said.

Turner said she tries to sell products that appeal to a variety of customers and age groups, from “teenagers to 89-year-olds.” She said Polson also stands to benefit from development downtown.

“This is the time that Polson starts growing. There’s no reason we can’t be like Bigfork,” she said, referring to town’s popular downtown district.

While starting her own business has been a lifestyle change for her family, Turner said she’s optimistic the efforts will pay off.

“I still can’t believe I’m finally at this point,” she said. “It’s still kind of sinking in.”

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