Creative Endeavors, Simply Mae's Boutique collaborate in Story City's downtown district

Ronna Faaborg
Ames Tribune
The mother-daughter teams that own Simply Mae's Boutique and Creative Endeavors have collaborated to have a retail shop in downtown Story City. Left to right, Cande Coulter and Jessi Kettenacker own Simply Mae's, and Christina Morton and Cassie Dewey own Creative Endeavors.

Two pairs of mother-daughter business owners are partnering in a retail space in downtown Story City. The women are collaborating with one another and also with local artisans and small business owners as they bring products into their businesses, Creative Endeavors and Simply Mae’s Boutique, which are located together at 518 Broad St.

Cande Coulter and Jessi Kettenacker opened Simply Mae’s Boutique in March 2019 in a smaller retail space down the street. They sell modestly priced women’s clothing in simple, comfortable pieces that are also stylish and trendy.

More:Mother-daughter duo open Simply Mae’s Boutique in Story City

More:Simply Mae’s moves, expands to include comfort food cafe

Simply Mae's Boutique sells comfortable, fashionable women's clothing and accessories.

“Our whole mindset is that a woman should be confident and comfortable in her everyday clothing,” Kettenacker said.

Their clothing is size-inclusive, with tops ranging from small to 3X and with jeans from size 3 to 22.

Coulter and Kettenacker’s boutique quickly outgrew the original space, so they moved to 601 Broad St. and added Simply Mae’s Cafe to their business lineup.

The cafe focuses on comfort food like loaded potato soup, hot beef sundaes, Big Kid Grilled Cheese and Texas sheet cake. It remains at 601 Broad, and Simply Mae’s has brought My Father’s Daughter Vintage store into the boutique’s former retail space in that building.

More:Forgiveness, a reunion and music: Story City woman and her father reconnect after 40 years apart

Cassie Dewey, co-owner of Creative Endeavors in Story City, picks up a product in her store's own line of candles.

Morton and Dewey open Creative Endeavors, collaborate with local artisans

Christina Morton and Cassie Dewey own Creative Endeavors, which sells home decor, work from local artisans, homemade soaps and candles, local wine, and vintage and antique finds.

“We have an eclectic collection of items,” Morton said. “We started noticing that people were becoming really creative during the pandemic – including ourselves.”

Simply Mae's Boutique is on the left side and Creative Endeavors on the right in the retail store they share at 518 Broad St. in downtown Story City.

Morton is a longtime massage therapist in Ames looking at how she’d like to ease into retirement, and Dewey was just finishing a master’s degree in business with an emphasis on leadership.

The mother and daughter’s business paths seemed to meet at a place where both would enjoy owning a retail shop in the town they love.

“We thought if we took Cassie’s strengths and (try) to help and support other artisans,” Morton said.

Dewey knew she wanted to be an entrepreneur and loved the idea of supporting other small businesses and local artisans.

“We wanted to bring in people who want to be creative, and we’re expanding in some areas to offer classes and take-and-make events for people who like to make stuff,” Dewey said. “I really like the idea of supporting the community and supporting other people who may not have had that in-person outlet.”

Creative Endeavors sells Chase + Charlie brand dolls, stuffed animals and blankets, which are handmade by Laura Severson of Story City.

Laura Severson of Story City is an example of the local products Creative Endeavors has brought into the store. Severson is the owner of Chase + Charlie, an Etsy shop that specializes in handmade stuffed animals, dolls and blankets.

“There’s a difference between buying something online and feeling it,” Dewey said. “Her products are just so cuddly and soft. And she puts so much passion and love into it. So being able to have her products in here is really great.”

Creative Endeavors also has unique items, such as tables made from antique sewing machines from Star W Boone, wood flower arrangements by Tracy Petersen of Ames, and local wines from Red Barn Winery in Story City and Backcountry Winery in Stratford.

Creative Endeavors in downtown Story City has its own line of soap and bath salts.

Morton and Dewey make their own soap, bath salts, lip balm and candles, which they sell under the Creative Endeavors label.

They plan to soon start a candle bar, an interactive opportunity for customers to make their own candles.

“People will be able to come in and choose their candle vessel, choose a scent and make their own candle,” Morton said. “Then while their candle is settling and solidifying, we can showcase other businesses that they can go and participate in what this town has to offer.”

It will also be a place where the two businesses can collaborate on classes and make-and-take events, Coulter said.

“We can share that space for an earring class or a bath salts event,” Coulter said. “Once we started talking about it, we realized it can go a lot of places.

“I think it’s unique because we’re all women, plus we’re mother-daughter business owners.”

Simply Mae's Boutique sells comfortable, fashionable women's clothing and accessories.

Business owners find strength in numbers

Simply Mae’s inclusion of Kara Ziph, who owns My Father’s Daughter, has created a feel at the cafe that’s like “Story City’s version of Cracker Barrell,” Coulter said.

“We collaborate with Kara, and we’re partnering with Cassie and Christina and with other retailers in town,” she said. “We’re working together for people to come shop Story City. It’s not just about us and our store, it’s more about the town to bring people in.”

Creative Endeavors in downtown Story City sells local wines, like these from Red Barn Winery in Story City and Backcountry Winery in Stratford.

Other businesses in Story City that are finding strength in numbers, she said.

Suite 3 on Broad, which is located at 628 Broad St., features Indigo Aura with Lindsay Crowe, Pure Healing Massage with Kortney Lutter, and licensed massage therapist Kayla Anderson. Astrid’s Massage and Esthetics is at Heartland Family Chiropractic at 624 Broad. Nails by Briana is at HPC Salon at 607 Broad.

Shining a light on other local businesses

Morton, Dewey, Coulter and Kettenacker are shining a light on other Story City retail businesses and locally owned eateries.

They have a handy sheet to give their customers. It includes:

  • The Store with Everything You Don’t Need, 307 Broad St.
  • It’s Sew Tempting, 407 Broad St.
  • Urban Heirlooms, 521 Broad St.
  • Story City Floral & Garden, 525 Broad St.
  • The Tin Chandelier, 526 Broad St.
  • Affordables by Bethany Life, 630 Pennsylvania Ave.
  • Simply Mae’s Cafe, 601 Broad St.
  • My Father’s Daughter, 601 Broad St.
  • NuCara, 621 Broad St.
  • KaffeGeita, 1463 Broad St.
  • Antiques Iowa, 1639 Broad St.