When shoppers step through Boutique 78’s doors in Chanhassen, they might encounter mischievous Norwegian trolls poking their heads out, catch a glimpse of sparkling tiaras or stop to admire intricate handmade jewelry from Barcelona, Spain.
There’s something to draw interest throughout the boutique, and it won’t take long to realize this is no ordinary shop. From the theatrical happenings of the nearby Chanhassen Dinner Theatres to the comfort of Brindisi’s Pub next door and, finally, the shop’s exquisite clothing, fashion and accessories, a visit to Boutique 78 has the ingredients for a complete experience.
When owner Barbara Truempi took over the store two years ago, she not only wanted to make the boutique reflect her style but felt it was also important to focus on the customers. “I’ve loved shopping with my girlfriends at boutiques, and I love art galleries and art and the theater; I’m an artsy, eccentric type of person,” Truempi says. “So I'm slowly making it a boutique that represents me and the people in the community—I try to have a variety of things.”
One shelf in the boutique displays jewelry specifically from Poland, made with stones known for their healing qualities. Truempi has built relationships with many of the vendors who visit and bring their items for the boutique. “I have homemade sterling silver rings with Baltic Amber with the big stones, and I'll pick the ones that touch my heart,” Truempi says. The store has become known for the one-of-a-kind jewelry, and customers are delighted to find that the gorgeous handmade pieces are all affordably priced.
Truempi’s fervent love for travel has inspired many of the items in the boutique. While traveling in Costa Rica, Truempi met a woman who painted images of Mexican artist Frida Kahlo on colorful keepsake boxes. “I just love what (Frida) stands for, so when I see things that have meaning to me, especially trying to empower women, I want to share it with others,” she says.
Jean Regan, who regularly pops into the boutique, appreciates the beautifully unique items it continually offers. “I went into Boutique 78 for my daily fix, and I bought a very special handmade Frida box for my daughter, who lives in London,” Regan says. “I fell in love with the earrings Frida was wearing on the box and wanted to find a matching pair of earrings for my daughter. With the help of (the store’s) manager Amy Schilling, we were able to find the perfect pair. On my way out, I noticed a handmade poncho hanging on the door and ended up buying that for my daughter, as well—the perfect gift for someone who means the world to me.”
Truempi’s passion for people is what makes visiting the store a truly heartfelt experience. “There’s a lot of moments in the boutique where I find that people can just be themselves,” she says. “We’re always talking and laughing or even dancing; I always have fun music going on. I don’t think we’re your typical boutique. The main thing is for people to feel special and have a good feeling when they come in the store, [because] this is a special place.”