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Cheryl Ristow, Bohocherie
The atmosphere at Cheryl Ristow’s Bohocherie boutique in Redlands, California is laid back, comfortable, and fun. There’s a big purple velvet sofa where you can sit to try on a pair of boots, or just take everything in while you enjoy a cup of coffee. Racks of versatile, boho-chic clothing in sizes from small to 5X beg to be tried on and taken home. Fair trade pieces share space with fringe, and signage was created by local artists, whose work is also for sale in the shop.
“I knew what kind of store I wanted,” Cheryl said. “Although for most of my career I was with the San Bernardino District Attorney’s office as an investigating technician, I worked briefly in boutique clothing stores. I had some idea of the kind of work it takes to make it in retail. I thought, ‘If I can work this hard for someone else, I can work for myself and build the kind of business I want.’”
Once she decided to start a business, Cheryl began looking for information, help, and resources to help her build a solid business foundation. ”I had to write a business plan in order to get a property lease,” she says. “I had no idea how to write a plan or what should go into it. I needed to find someone to help me right away.” That’s when she started working with the Inland Empire Women’s Business Center (IEWBC). The IEWBC is a program of the Inland Empire Center for Entrepreneurship at Cal State San Bernardino in partnership with the U.S. Small Business Administration, and provides business counseling, training and mentoring designed for women business owners.
Cheryl met with a counselor and worked to develop her business plan and financial projections while continuing to search for the perfect property. Bohocherie, a combination of the boho-chic clothing trend and Cheryl’s nickname, opened in October 2015 on Orange Street in Redlands.
“I literally could not have opened my doors without help from the IEWBC. In addition to walking me through the business planning process, their encouragement and persistent faith that I could do this were incredible. My biggest challenge as a small business owner was figuring out all the things I needed to do just to get my business started, and it would have taken much longer without my counselor’s guidance and support.”
For Cheryl, the best thing about owning her business is helping women look good and feel good about themselves. She is also able to help a cause dear to her heart. Her daughter Sarah, who lives with Down syndrome, has her own corner of the store where 20% of sales benefit a Down syndrome charity. She also plans to have young adults help out at the store through local WorkAbility program.
Bohocherie is located at 342 Orange St. in Redlands, CA. Hours of operation are Tuesday through Saturday from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. with hours extended to 9 p.m. on Thursdays. For more information, call 909-798-1700. The Inland Empire Women’s Business Center can be reached at 909-890-1242 or visit www.iewbc.org.