Fitting in at the mall

MARSHALL – Even though she’s away from her husband and children during the week, Vanheuang Duangvilay is hoping her new business takes off.

Duangvilay opened up CJ Alterations Feb. 1 at the Market Street Mall in Marshall.

“I’m really happy, this place is really nice for my shop,” she said. “This is really new for me.”

Duangvilay is from Laos and has a degree in fashion design/tailoring and alterations from there. She now lives in Minneapolis and stays with family in Walnut Grove during the week.

According to her nephew, Xiong (Sean) Yang of Walnut Grove, Duangvilay had been operating and running a similar business in Sheboygan, Wis., for the past two years and that is why she decided to start up on her own.

She and her husband had been looking for awhile before talking with Yang about what markets they should be in.

Yang showed them around Marshall and the Market Street Mall and the potential opportunities it could deliver for them.

“I came to take a look,” Duangvilay said.

“Contracted rent rates was their biggest fear in this type of business, and that is why they wanted to start in Marshall to get things started and how owning and operating a small business would be like versus starting up big in the metro area,” Yang said.

Yang and the Duangvilays walked through the mall and wanted to know if the vacant spaces were available, and if so, what the rates were. Yang said the lease was signed in November. Duangvilay is going to have a grand opening Saturday.

“I really like to alter things like clothes,” Duangvilay said.

She’s done a lot of sewing work in her time, saying that it’s become her skill. Duangvilay has a setup of several different machines in her alterations shop, including a surger and a heavy duty machine. She does quick and easy alterations, which includes hemming, stitching, button replacements, zippers and more.

“I mostly do everything,” she said. She also works six days a week in her shop.

Yang said the goal is for Duangvilay’s husband and children to relocate to southwest Minnesota and establish and keep CJ Alterations open as long as they can.

Her husband still works in the Twin Cities and is looking for employment in southwest Minnesota.