A place for divas

Published 9:30 am Saturday, August 11, 2012

Graphic by Kathy Johnson/Albert Lea Tribune

By Kessa Albright, staff intern

Anna Allshouse, her daughter, Mariana, and her mother, Maria Siwec, stand behind the counter of Diva Central. The family runs the boutique. --Kessa Albright/Albert Lea Tribune

CLARKS GROVE — A new boutique in this town has apparel for women, and some for men as well.

Diva Central, on Main Street in Clarks Grove, opened its doors July 15. The store sells clothes, accessories and shoes for women and has some men’s apparel as well.

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Anna Allshouse and her mother Maria Siwiec run the store.

Two young girls look at shoes in Diva Central. The store welcomes all age groups.

“We wanted to bring something to the community,” Allshouse said.

Diva Central started as a home-based business. Allshouse said she wanted to have a storefront in order to attract new customers and to give a more professional feel.

Allshouse has a knack for spotting trends and a passion for fashion.

“I have an obsession with clothing,” she said.

The store carries all kinds of styles for different body types. Allshouse said that the store is aimed at middle-aged women who stay informed on current fashion trends. There are a few racks of men’s clothing and some hats hanging on the wall of the store. Toward the back of the store there’s a section of shoes and throughout the store handbags hang off the walls.

Two pairs of shoes sit on a shelf in Diva Central. The store has a variety of styles of clothing, shoes and accessories.

Allshouse said she is open to suggestions by customers. She will order any brand or specific item for the customer. One of her friends had a wedding to go to this summer, so Allshouse ordered a dress for her to wear. She said her friend has a tall, slender body type which can be difficult to shop for.

The store carries clothes for all kinds of body types. They have plus sizes and a petite line coming in soon.

James Allshouse, Anna’s husband, came up with the name Diva Central. James and Anna said they wanted a store where women can feel like divas.

“And where a woman can feel good about herself,” James added.

A rack of dresses in Diva Central.

James runs Cali-Boyz Customs, a stereo store, next door to Diva Central. The family owns the entire building, which used to be a furniture store. The building has a total of five store areas and it took them six months just to redo the Diva Central store.

Allshouse and her family are from Poland and she moved to America when she was a 1-year-old. Siwiec lived in Florida until Allshouse asked her to move to Clarks Grove to help her run the store. Siwiec owned a Polish deli in Florida. Allshouse’s sister also lives in Florida, and Allshouse said she is trying to convince her to come to Clarks Grove to run a nail salon in the back of the building.

Diva Central and Cali-Boyz Customs are up and running and the family has plans to use the other stores in the back of the building. There is a game room at the back of the building being used for customers’ children to play while the parents shop. The family has plans of success for the building.


Diva Central

Address: 111 E. Main St. in Clarks Grove

Hours: 2 to 7 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday