Word is slowly but surely getting around about BOHO’s new location in the downtown core.
The popular women’s clothing store, which owner Theresa Ouimette opened in 2017 on Great Northern Road, moved to the former, longtime, landmark Mike’s Lunch location at 518 Queen St. E. in October 2019.
The name ‘BOHO’ is short for ‘Bohemian,’ a term associated with people living an artistic and unconventional lifestyle, and in a fashion sense, basically means looking good without conforming to any particular fashion style.
“It’s not about a piece of clothing, but how you combine it with something else and make your own look. If a woman buys a sweater, I have an eye for coordinating it with other apparel and accessories, to give her a look she loves,” Theresa said, speaking to SooToday.
BOHO sells mostly women’s clothing, hats, shoes and fashion accessories while offering some male apparel items such as belts and undergarments.
Theresa, though being BOHO’s sole owner/operator, employs Josie Moraca, a former, longtime Sears employee, as her shop assistant.
“When you get the two of us together, we bicker at each other in a fun way,” Theresa said.
“We take pride in our merchandise (and, while ordering some merchandise from Italy)...we strive to have Canadian brands. We’re very patriotic. We bring in organic products, such as our fragrances and candles, we bring in alpaca clothing, environmentally friendly shopping bags,” Theresa said.
“The apparel and accessories are the main things people like at BOHO of course, but they like the friendly service, the personal touch, the relaxed environment. It makes them want to come back. We carry some high-end items, but other items which everyone can afford.”
The apparel at BOHO, Theresa said, is for women of all ages.
“Some customers come in here and say ‘I really like coming here because you don’t make me look old like other stores try to.’ They like it here because it’s fashionable, it’s not about your age, it’s about what you’re wearing and how you feel.”
As for Theresa herself, she was born and raised in Iron Bridge and currently resides in Bruce Mines, driving to her downtown Sault shop and back every day.
“I left Iron Bridge when I was 19, but I’m really used to that small-town vibe, where you know everybody, wave at everybody, where people help each other. I live in Bruce Mines because I want my kids in a smaller community setting with me, still being in business in the Sault. It’s like the best of both worlds for me.”
After high school graduation, she lived in the Sault and studied Criminal Justice at Sault, Michigan’s Lake Superior State University (LSSU), going on to work in social services work, including working with high-risk youth for the federal government in several communities, including Ottawa, Manitoulin Island, and Bonnyville, Alberta before returning to Ontario.
“When I was out west, I came to the Sault to visit friends and I was shopping for a dress, and I had a hard time finding what I was looking for,” Theresa said.
“I decided if I ever move to the Sault I’m going to open my own store.”
And so she did.
Taking what she called “a leap of faith,” Theresa left social services work and launched BOHO on Great Northern Road in 2017.
“This profession is where I’m meant to be,” Theresa said.
“But, I still thought something was missing. Sales were good, customers were great, but I realized ‘I’ve got to go back to my small town roots.’”
With that, Theresa moved BOHO to the Sault’s new downtown location.
“It’s got a community vibe on Queen Street. I’m much happier here, it’s like day and night. I’m a small-town community girl and the downtown business area is like a community.”
Theresa said she is so community-minded that she loves to get to know her customers, hear their stories and give them hugs.
“I want to know their names. I care about my customers, but I know which ones to hug,” she added with a laugh.
“I left social services, but I still get to help people in a more relaxed, enjoyable, less stressful way, helping them to look their best,” Theresa said.
Stating she is passionate about many things, Theresa has many interests, such as interior decorating, gardening, and hopes to write a novel combining romance and Algoma district locations such as St. Joseph Island, Manitoulin Island and points between.
More information about BOHO may be found on the shop’s Facebook page