Navigating the Corporate Retail Ladder
Originally from Fostoria, Ohio, where 6 of her 7 siblings still reside, Lori Bowman Fournier has had a career climbing the corporate retail ladder until she decided to step off and start her own small business. She originally started at The Lion Store in Toledo before moving to the headquarters in Cincinnati. Once The Lion Store was acquired by Dillard’s she was recruited by Target to work from them in Minneapolis. There she met one of the most influential people in her career, her boss Trish Adams who she says taught her how to truly be a merchant and lead in a way that Lori still reflects on when decisions need to be made in her own store.
When Lori’s mother was diagnosed with cancer she knew she wanted to be closer to home, so she started to formulate a plan. Initially she thought she would open a boutique in Cincinnati, where she lived early in her career. However while at a friend’s art gallery opening she was introduced to Lisa Koehler Chubb from Findlay who gushed about the area. When Lori explained the vision for her boutique Lisa insisted she consider opening the boutique in Findlay, she believed that with the investment being made in Downtown it would be a natural fit. Lori had recently reconnected with a childhood friend who also worked in Findlay and had begun dating him. When Lori talked the idea of opening the boutique in Findlay instead of Cincinnati he thought it was a great idea – and they’re now married!
Through Lisa, Lori made a range of connections that helped things fall into place. She had already created a business plan, a necessity in her opinion, and with the support of a large network behind her it became an easier process than she originally planned. In 2014 The Dressing Room Boutique opened its doors.
The Dressing Room Boutique
The Dressing Room Boutique’s motto is “Big City style, Small Town service, at prices you will fall in love with” and they live by the motto. Lori travels to New York, Los Angeles, and Chicago to buy pieces for the store. Every piece is classic with a twist, it is fashion forward and is something that a woman can feel comfortable wearing in Findlay. Lori only order six of each piece, so you won’t see others on the street wearing your outfit and The Dressing Room has become a place where ladies go when they need to find something flattering to wear. Service is at the utmost importance at The Dressing Room, the women working will be able to find you the perfect piece for whatever occasion. The Dressing Room carries casual styles to cocktail – and everything in between. Lori’s favorite item is the jean line, the Democracy ‘Ab’solution Booty Lift jeans, but you can also find the perfect cocktail dress for a holiday party, blazers that will transition from work to a night out, or a great line of leggings that will keep you warm and stylish this winter.
Quick Fire Findlay Favorites
- Thing about the Findlay and Hancock County community? I love the small-town vibe of this place. Everyone is so trusting! I ordered tile the other day and the owner said “Naw, you don’t have to pay for it now, just give me the money when it comes in.” What??? Definitely not the way things are handled in the big cities that I have lived in!
- Place in Findlay? The Dressing Room Boutique! I love my store and feel like I am in my second home when I am there. It is very cozy and my vibe to a T!
- Local Event? Art Walk! Even though I am working during the event I love the energy that all of the patrons, the artists and the musicians bring to downtown. It feels like a very sophisticated area during those nights!
- Findlay Fun Fact? When you spend $100 at a locally owned retailer, $68 of that money gets reinvesting into the community. Compare that to less than $20 when you purchase from a local chain store and only $1 when buying from an online retailer (and that is only if the delivery driver is local). So, shop small and shop local!!!!!
- Hidden Gem? My husband and I love going to The Anvil for after-dinner drinks and live music. It has a big city vibe with great small-town service. We are always surprised that there aren’t more people up there enjoying what they have going on!
Fun Facts about Lori
- Hometown: Fostoria, Ohio
- Family: Husband Chris, Son Austin (26), Stepson Zach (25) and Stepdaughter Zara (21)
- Pet: Charley (short for Charlize Princess Fournier – if you met her you would understand the joke!)
- Community Involvement: Member of the Findlay•Hancock County Chamber of Commerce, volunteered as a panel member for BGSU and University of Findlay small business forums, and organizers of a fashion show benefiting the American Cancer Society
- Netflix Recommendation/Favorite TV Show: I just finished Netflix’s Stranger Things – season 1 and I really liked it but I don’t have a lot of time to binge watch so I don’t think I will get to season 2 anytime soon. For a quick laugh I like The Good Place and Will and Grace – I am so glad they are back on the air!
- Favorite Holiday Decoration: I have a mistletoe decoration that my mom gave me from my childhood. I saw my parents kiss under it when I was little so it holds great memories for me.
- Top item on your Christmas list: 23 and Me – it is a DNA testing kit to uncover your ancestry
- Favorite Dad Joke: Guy walks into a restaurant and hostess says “Do you have reservations?” Guy says “Sure but I’m going to try your food anyway.”