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The Feb. 28 grand opening drew more than 70 supporters, who at one point were urged by Chang, the AmeriCorps employee, to “take out your cellphone and like our Facebook page,” in hopes of getting more than 300 likes on the store’s Facebook page. And they did.
“The store gives us a sense of belonging in the community and prepares us for the future,” said Farah.
Each young woman was awarded a rose at the grand opening. And Chang — who kept the audience laughing as the event’s emcee — was awarded a bouquet of roses.
“It’s an enterprise packed with clothes and spirit. You can buy the clothes; you can bask in the spirit of the place,” said Martha Stortz, a customer at the thrift shop. “I love what these dynamic women have accomplished.”
President Paul Pribbenow of Augsburg College told the audience, “We are working on a special scholarship program [that] we will be announcing in the next few weeks. That if you intern at this boutique, it will earn you a scholarship at Augsburg College.”
According to the business plan, the store will be self-sustainable within five years.
Bruce Batten, director of Augsburg’s MBA program and whose students drafted the business plan, pointed out that every person in the United States has an immigrant past.
“I think it’s a terrific way to get more people involved in business,” he said.
Steve Fischer is a University of Minnesota student reporter on assignment for the Star Tribune.