Get to know... Monika Sowter, manager of Lyn Evans Potpourri Designs
Published 12:00 am, Friday, October 13, 2017
NEW CANAAN — When Lyn Evans Potpourri Designs closed in wake of the death of its founder, Linda Evans Shotkus, many women in New Canaan felt a hole where the business had been. The boutique clothing store remained an Elm Street installation for nearly forty years before closing its doors in June.
After hearing about the chain closing, Massachusetts resident, Charlie White, invested and reopened the brand which has locations in Connecticut and Massachusetts. The New Canaan store, now the only Lyn Evans in Connecticut, reopened last month to much fanfare and delight from residents. Now store manager Monika Sowter is determined to help the store make a comeback so it’s even bigger and better than before.
“We are hoping to build a great client base,” she said.
Sowter is already familiar with the Lyn Evans brand after serving as the manager of their now defunct Ridgefield location for four years. Sowter said she was drawn to staying with Lyn Evans after seeing the way the company let store owners get involved with local organizations to have benefits and fundraisers.
“I really loved how much (Lyn Evans) gave back to the community,” she said. “They really do give back to the community. I also love the family vibe.”
Since helping the New Canaan location reopen, Sowter, 37, is aiming to not only reincorporate the store into the fabric of the New Canaan community but also bring it a fresher look. With the store founder’s daughter, Jenn Shotkus, serving as the vice president of merchandising and buyer for Lyn Evans, Sowter said the store is now carrying items to appeal to women of all ages, describing it as a place where grandmother, mom, and daughter can all shop.
“We have cleaner merchandise and displays,” Sowter said. “It’s a different client base, but there's lots of different ladies with affiliations with great organizations who are ready to shop and pleasant to work for.”
Sowter said New Canaan customers are always open to trying new items. A former buyer for the Jones Group, Sowter said New Canaan women so far prefer a dressier look, but some like to try out fun accessories
Although Lyn Evans remains a small chain, Sowter said she has a lot of freedom to do what she’d like with the store.
“He (Charlie White, owner) gives employees autonomy to run the store as an individual,” she said. “It’s entrepreneurial.”
Right now, Sowter’s goal is to incorporate Lyn Evans back into the New Canaan community. While the store maintains a strong client base, she’s hoping to get the store involved with more community organizations. At her old store in Ridgefield, Sowter got involved Anne’s Place in Danbury which offers free cancer support services.
“We’d like to get involved in any women’s organization and give back to schools,” she said.