116 3rd St SE
Cedar Rapids, Iowa 52401
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Laura Frey said the idea for her new business first came to her as a young girl walking through the old Armstrong's Department Store in downtown Cedar Rapids.
'My mom worked there, and I modeled there when I was a kid,” Frey said, noting that she had dreamed of someday working in the store's 'Trendsetters” department. 'But Armstrong's closed, and my dream was dashed.”
At the age of 18, with a career at Armstrong's now out of the question, Frey obtained a real estate license and set a goal to retire by the time she was 40. She met that goal with a year to spare.
Upon her retirement from real estate, Frey and her husband, who is a builder, began spending a lot of time at their home in southern California and Frey became familiar with Los Angeles' fashion districts.
'I found L.A. has so many opportunities,” Frey said. 'Everywhere I went, somebody was doing something unique in business.”
Frey was inspired to try her hand in the fashion business. She began designing and making scarves with fabric sourced in Los Angeles and sold them in Iowa under the name Aura Scarves. At the same time, her Iowa friends were asking her to shop for them when she was in L.A.
'They'd ask me to check the fashion district for this and that, which caused me to delve into the fashion side of things more,” she said. 'It's amazing what you can find.”
Frey found so much, in fact, that she set up a pop-up boutique in Fix Salon in Cedar Rapids. The shop was a hit, and Frey decided to make it permanent.
Frey found a house on North Center Point Road in Hiawatha, but ended up purchasing the vacant lot next door from the same owner. Her husband completed a 5,000-square-foot, multi-tenant commercial building on the lot in just 91 days.
Recalling her childhood dream, Frey named the building Trendsetter Place.
Frey's boutique, LA Trends Addict, is the first store to open in Trendsetter Place and focuses on fashions popular in Los Angeles. The store is organized into sections named after Los Angeles' fashion districts, with merchandise reflecting the styles of each district.
'Rodeo Drive has the classic, timeless investment pieces that will be in your closet forever,” Frey explained. 'Robertson Boulevard has the trendy pieces that you can replace next year because they're more affordable.”
Other sections offer plus sizes, girls' fashions, and fashion essentials such as bralettes and leggings.
Frey said a full-service, luxury salon will open at Trendsetter Place in early 2016. The salon will partner with the boutique in hosting parties and girls' nights out events. Frey would like to lease a third space to a café that could cater the special events.
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At a Glance
' Owner: Laura Frey
' Business: LA Trends Addict
' Address: 1200 North Center Point Road, Hiawatha
' Telephone: (319) 200-2222
' Website: www.latrendsaddict.com