Carrie Rengers

Wichita may not have an ocean but it’s getting a mermaid shop at Douglas and Hillside

The Enchanted Mermaid women’s boutique coming to Douglas and Hillside will always have at least one mermaid lounging about the store ready to greet customers and pose for pictures. They also can help others transform into mermaids for the day.
The Enchanted Mermaid women’s boutique coming to Douglas and Hillside will always have at least one mermaid lounging about the store ready to greet customers and pose for pictures. They also can help others transform into mermaids for the day. Courtesy photo

As an astute viewer of “American Idol,” Michelle Mallow says she notices that winning contestants all seem to have one thing in common: They’re true to themselves and what they like.

So as Mallow started planning a retail business, she says she thought about what she likes and quickly knew the theme for her store: mermaids.

“I’ve always loved mermaids,” Mallow says.

She and business partner Bonnie Moore are opening the Enchanted Mermaid at the southeast corner of Douglas and Hillside by the Crown Uptown Theatre.

The store will be an eclectic women’s boutique with what Mallow calls a mermaid theme.

“There will be a mermaid there all the time,” she says.

She may be sitting on a swing or in a clam shell in the window just waiting on customers. There may even be multiple mermaids at times.

“Anyone can stop in and get their photos taken with her,” Mallow says.

“We want that to be the biggest draw for the shop.”

Shoppers of all ages also can don mermaid tails and have mermaid makeovers, which will involve a lot of jewels, glitter, tinsel and feathers among other things.

Mallow says she wants to create an atmosphere similar to Ariel’s grotto from “The Little Mermaid.”

“Inside is going to be really beautiful,” she says.

“It’s going to have all kinds of trinkets and things we all love.”

There will be furniture, mirrors, jewelry, shoes, clothes, books and art.

Half of the store will have a focus on artisan-made products.

The other half will be “just wonderful things that I find,” Mallow says.

She also plans ice cream and what she calls magical desserts, such as specialty cakes.

Mallow says she wants to channel European ice cream shops where stopping in is more of a formal event instead of merely getting a scoop of ice cream.

There will be mermaid-themed ice cream

Mallow says she’s trying to create an experience for people.

The 2,150-square-foot space also will be available for tea and children’s stories or adult classes on things such as how to add bling to jean jackets.

Mallow says her mermaids can travel, too, for events on location.

Stephanie Wise of John T. Arnold Associates handled the deal for the space.

Enchanted Mermaid will open for Final Friday this month but likely only a third of the shop will be ready.

Mallow previously had the Synergy Arts studio, but she says opening something that incorporates art with her beloved mermaids makes more sense.

She says she wants a creative space that’s “like walking into an enchanted dream.”

Carrie Rengers has been a reporter for almost three decades, including 16 years at The Wichita Eagle. Her Have You Heard? column of business scoops runs five days a week in The Eagle. If you have a tip, please e-mail or tweet her or call 316-268-6340.
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