New clothing shop opens in downtown Powell

Posted 8/5/21

Mallory Riley didn’t set out to open a clothing store. 

After graduating from Powell High School in 2011, Riley got her associate’s degree from Northwest College, went on to the …

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New clothing shop opens in downtown Powell


Mallory Riley didn’t set out to open a clothing store. 

After graduating from Powell High School in 2011, Riley got her associate’s degree from Northwest College, went on to the University of Wyoming and then completed her law degree at Washburn University School of Law in Topeka, Kansas. 

As she was making plans to start a career in law, the COVID-19 pandemic hit. With all the difficulties of the pandemic restrictions, she decided to return to Powell and start a practice here. 

In the course of looking for a location for her office, she was shown the old location of Larsen’s Bicycles. The building had offices upstairs, but she was concerned how well that would work for elderly clients. 

Yet, looking at the storefront got her thinking it would be perfect for a boutique, and she could use the back portion for her law practice. She teamed up with Megan Moore — another 2011 PHS graduate who moved back to Powell after college — due to limited opportunities during the pandemic. 

“Megan and I have been best friends for over 20 years, and we were next door neighbors growing up,” Riley said. 

Together, they came up with the idea for The HumbleBee Shop.

Riley said the store’s name came from her phobia of stinging insects. 

“I’ve always done the run, scream, hide kind of response,” she said. 

She ran the name by some local kids who gave it the thumbs up. So, Moore and Riley ran with it.

The shop sells women’s clothes — though they hope to later add men’s as well — for ages teen to 30s. They will also have a selection of children’s clothes. Besides clothes, they will have accessories, chakra sticks and bath bombs. Some items are made by local crafters, and the HumbleBee charges no consignment fee. 

“We’re trying to encourage locals to put some of their crafts in the store,” Riley said. 

It’s hard to operate a niche retail store in a small town like Powell, she said, so the store will have a broad selection of items.

“We’re trying to do a little bit of everything,” Moore said. 

They also are taking a philosophy of retail that aims to make it not a shop in Powell, but a Powell shop. They are careful not to compete with other downtown businesses, and their customer relations strategy will avoid the hard sell. They want people to be sure they feel good about their purchases, and they want the atmosphere in the store to be happy, fun and light. 

“It’s important to us that our community feels good,” Moore said. 

They’re also going to do small batches of clothes. That way, not everyone in the community is wearing the same thing. 

It’s been a challenge getting the place ready for Friday’s grand opening, as the commercial space needed a lot of renovation. Phil Tromble, who is The HumbleBee Shop’s primary contractor, is also joining the member-based LLC.

“It was a bike shop for 30 years,” Moore said, “and the carpeting looked like it had been used as a bike shop for 30 years.”

In addition to the carpeting, they also had to construct dressing rooms for the customers. The store now has two well-lit spaces where customers can try on clothes.

The HumbleBee won’t, however, have a front window for its grand opening. While they were rushing to prepare the space, a 23-year-old driver accidentally crashed his car through the display window. With contractors and materials so hard to come by, the women temporarily replaced the shattered glass with plywood and painted it with the store’s logo. Several people have signed the wood with messages of encouragement in the face of the setback and wishing them luck with their new venture. 

Several downtown businesses are participating in the grand opening event from 5:30-9:30 p.m. 

Riley and Moore will be closing off a portion of Second Street for a dance party, which will include live music, drinks, games and more. The event is open to the public.