Mode Boutique, Provo’s only high-end fashion store, represented a mecca of style within the downtown area. But, as Mode co-owner Becca Neely states, business-as-usual stopped going so well.
“Business just died. People weren’t spending money, and when they were it wasn’t on full priced items, so our margins dropped way low. Top that with students being gone, and we had no business. We were also tapped out financially.”
In addition to carrying a top-notch selection of designer jeans, such as Nudie Jeans, Cheap Monday and James Jeans, Mode also offered a T-shirt bar where customers could create their own personalized shirts.
“We had a lot of customers from Salt Lake City because we had a selection of clothes not available anywhere else in Utah,” said Richard, who was an employee at Mode Boutique.
Some locals question the effect that Mode Boutique’s closure might have on downtown Provo’s endemic vibe. This in addition to the closure of other hip places like Coal Umbrella and The Sego Arts Center put downtown on the wayside no sooner than it began to flourish.
“Mode was definitely one of the few hip places to go in Provo,” said John Stephenson, UVU graduate and manager at Banana Republic in University Mall. “I think a lot of people went in to look, but didn’t understand it was a high-end fashion store. I wonder if that kind of place is even sustainable in a place like Provo.”
Yet, despite the loss to local culture that comes with Mode’s departure, Neely remains somewhat optimistic about the fate of downtown Provo.
“Though Mode and Coal Umbrella’s closings will really squash the retail shopping part of it, downtown is still getting great restaurants left and right. Spark, The Pennyroyal re-opening, Communal and Rooster are all things to be excited about. And the rock to downtown is Velour, and Cory [Velour’s owner] is not going anywhere.”
Richard also points out that, though now closed, Mode succeeded in opening up possibilities for downtown Provo in years to come.
“Mode brought awareness of higher end brands to Provo. It showed customers that higher quality comes at a higher price. It also opened a lot of eyes to the potential of downtown Provo,” Richard said.