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Willmar, Minn., businesswoman opens a store that offers something for everyone

Bev Dougherty, co-owner of Fabulous Finds, stands by the food shelves in her shop in downtown Willmar. Dougherty and two partners opened Fabulous Finds at the beginning of October last year, just a few days after the former Lillian’s clothing store closed in the first floor of her building. The business is currently open three days a week. Tribune photo by Linda Vanderwerf

WILLMAR — It was a bit of a problem for Bev Dougherty — her biggest tenant was leaving her downtown Willmar building.

Her solution? Open a new business herself.

Dougherty and two partners opened Fabulous Finds at the beginning of October last year, just a few days after the former Lillian’s closed in the first floor of her building at 414 Becker Avenue.

“Now I rent from myself,” Dougherty said.

They put the shop together in two nights and opened it up. They purposely gave it a fun, but “vague” name “because we weren’t sure where we would go with it.”

Since the opening, one partner has left, but Dougherty is still in business with partner Elise Winter of Woodbury. Winter comes to town every Thursday, Friday and Saturday to operate the store.

The shop is open three days a week, from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Thursday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.

Lillian’s did well being open three days a month, but some people had gotten confused and come to the store when it was closed.

Dougherty and Winter decided to keep the same hours every week, giving their customers an easier-to-remember routine.

There’s an ever-changing selection of items in the shop.

“We started with women’s clothing,” Dougherty said, and then they added gifts.

Custom menswear and Doncaster women’s clothing from sizes 00-22 can be ordered through the store. Dougherty called the clothing “on trend and not trendy, so they can wear it for several years.”

Some of the gifts are local or Minnesota products, others are imported and assembled or made by women. The gifts include some glassware, baskets, handmade greeting cards and handmade jewelry, some imported and some made locally. Art by local artists is featured.

Dougherty enjoys restoring furniture, and she sells those pieces in the shop, too.

They sell 33 different food items. Much of it is locally grown. “It’s what I call real food,” she said. “Both Elise and I are foodies.”

Food items include organic eggs from Hutchinson, Pastures A Plenty meat and chicken from Kerkhoven and Palestinian olive oil.

“The olive oil is phenomenal,” Dougherty said.

Other food attractions are chips and flour from the Whole Grain Milling Co. of Welcome, fair trade coffee and line-caught fish. The Pasta Man of Chokio sells flavored pastas, and the Women’s Bean Project sells a variety of soup and baking mixes.

“People really hunt for good food,” Dougherty said.

Linda Vanderwerf

I cover education issues for the West Central Tribune and have worked for the paper since 1995. I have worked in journalism since 1981.

Follow me on Twitter: @lindavanderwerf

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