Independent boutique finds its niche on Kent’s East Hill

Surrounded by fine fabric, jewelry and other wares, Linda Sparks appears comfortable and content in her carefully designed retail clothing store.

Linda Sparks’ clothing store features a wide assortment of top-line collections tailored for women 35 and up. ‘I want to be able to get women excited about our store

Linda Sparks’ clothing store features a wide assortment of top-line collections tailored for women 35 and up. ‘I want to be able to get women excited about our store

Surrounded by fine fabric, jewelry and other wares, Linda Sparks appears comfortable and content in her carefully designed retail clothing store.

“This keeps me going. It gets me up in the morning,” Sparks said of her independent boutique, Linda’s Apparel, tucked away on Kent’s East Hill. “I like it and I like my customers. I like to know what’s going on in the fashion world.”

Sparks knows a thing or two about retail clothing, having worked 20-plus years in the business. She prides herself in matching the right fit and style with her loyal customers, offering a wide range of colors and designs from top-line manufacturers at affordable prices.

She also knows how to stay in business, especially at a time when big chain stores and online outlets are grabbing most of the buying power.

“As you know, the mom and pop stores of retail are mostly gone,” Sparks said. “However, we still believe in what we do, and enjoy our customers of so many years and, of course, the ones who just pop in. I want to be able to get women excited about our store, see colors, touch fabrics and know the owners.”

Linda’s Apparel, at 25822 104th Ave. SE, continues to attract attention to stay relevant in the small business community. The seasonal shop – a Best of Kent 2016 winner in the clothing/shoe store category – features a wide assortment of top-line collections tailored for women 35 and up.

Sparks keeps her collections together, on racks and rounders, occupied by made-in-America and Canadian lines. Brands include Jess & Jane and Color Me Cotton, among others.

Clothing has always been a big part of Sparks’ life. Her mother made her clothing as a child, and her intrigue with designs and colors continued.

Raised in southern Indiana, Sparks trained to be a nurse but the profession would later burn her out. Looking for something different, she went in the retail clothing business, where she met her husband, Maynard, at a trade show in Seattle more than 30 years ago.

Maynard’s family owned retail clothing stores in the San Francisco Bay Area for many years before closing them, at which time he became a sales rep.

The couple collaborated on inventory and what lines would best sell locally. Maynard can be found at the store a couple of days a week, helping customers.

Sparks enjoys Kent, refuses to walk away into retirement and is determined to remain a part of the community.

“This is what I like to do,” she said. “And it’s nice to be able to still come here, be with my customers and be able to do this.”

Store hours are 11 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Monday-Friday and 11 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Saturday. The store’s number is 253-850-4153.


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