Urban Lytes shines in new spot
West Bend business hopes new location will improve sales, opportunities

By ALEX BELD - Daily News

Sept. 20, 2017

Items placed out for display are seen Tuesday afternoon at Urban Lytes in West Bend. The clothing boutique moved to the corner of Main Street and Hickory Street on Thursday.
John Ehlke/Daily News

Urban Lytes apparel store opened its doors at a new location Thursday in an effort to find a place better suited for a retail store.

Owner Brenda Wesley took over the location formerly filled by The Corner Score, which had been at 104 N. Main St. since September 2014.

“We know location is everything,” Wesley said. “We really came to that conclusion that in order to survive we needed that foot traffic.”

The new location for the store places it on a corner and closer to established businesses like Husar’s House of Fine Diamonds and Mountain Outfitters.

“It’s good to be located in a site that preserves what we call retail continuity,” said Bill Ryan, UW-Extension community business development specialist. Ryan added it is better for retail businesses to be in locations conducive to foot traffic and the new spot for Urban Lytes appears to have a higher flow of foot traffic.

Other than a closed building across the street, which is expected to open in 2018 as the Pearl of Canton, Urban Lytes is surrounded by businesses and restaurants.

Since opening at the new spot, Urban Lytes has seen about a 50-percent increase in sales as well as a number of people stopping in to see what the store is.

“We’ve been pacing pretty well and we’re hoping we can keep that up,” Wesley said. She added the move has come at an ideal time with a restaurant coming in across the street and the announcement of the re-opening of the Historic West Bend Theatre.

The store also has more windows than the previous location, offering more opportunities to display items and bring light into the store.

Ryan mentioned a study called an analysis of downtown storefront improvements, which found improvements generally increased the number of first-time customers. Ryan said, “these findings could be extended to relocation to a nice-looking building.”

Other than having found a more exposed spot, which is likely better for business, Wesley is hoping to diversify and connect herself with the community.

Wesley said she is doing some cross promotion with Vicki Bressler, owner of Merle Norman. They are also hoping to diversify by offering desserts and coffee in the store as well as donate to veteran’s groups and other organizations once her business becomes solidified.

Merle Norman also recently moved from the Paradise Pavilion to a new home at 138 N. Main St. The cosmetic store is also planning on expanding by adding a gift shop of ladies’ items.

Bressler said she’s also experienced an uptick in traffic to her store since the move.

“I’ve had quite a few new customers come in,” she said.

Bressler and Wesley are hoping to collaborate to pair makeup with outfits and are considering a fashion show to display products from both stores.

Wesley said she also hopes to continue pursuing a T-shirt brand and create a children’s clothing brand as well as bring another business into the basement below her store, one which would be conducive to Urban Lytes.

“I think this corner can generate a lot of dollars,” Wesley said.