Joining the downtown: Area woman excited for new boutique in Albert Lea

Published 6:00 pm Tuesday, November 7, 2023

By Ayanna Eckblad

Albert Lea residents may have noticed that a building downtown, formerly Jaguar Communications, has transformed into a new and fun store with a bit of a country feel.

Sara Peterson, owner of Gorgeous Sorrels Boutique, was raised in the Albert Lea area and grew up showing livestock for Freeborn County 4-H and FFA. She noticed that there was a limited amount of horse and country-related shopping available in town, and the idea to start Gorgeous Sorrels was born. The store offers some of these goods, but focuses on clothing and accessories.

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After college and spending some time working an office job, Peterson decided that she wanted to start her own business.

“I decided I’m ready to quit corporate America and try this again back on my own,” she said.

The business started online, but eventually, Peterson decided that a physical shop had more opportunity for selling certain brands and products. She also wanted the human interaction and sense of community that comes with running a physical store.

“I worked remotely my entire career, so I don’t mind human interaction every now and again,” joked Peterson. “I just love getting to know people… whether it’s their family or their pets, whether it’s their horse… You feel like you’re good friends. That’s what I really appreciate about the retail sector.”

Opening Gorgeous Sorrels was a lot of hard work, labor and love on the part of Peterson and her husband, but she is so happy that she did it.

“I love the downtown area,” Peterson said. “They do a tremendous job of working together with other retailers in the area to really feed off of each other like what works, what doesn’t. So you don’t feel like you’re on a secluded island … Albert Lea is a great place to come, shop, support … and check out what’s going on.”

Peterson has gone a step further in supporting the community by carrying products that come from other small businesses.

“I know they give back to the community,” she said of local businesses. “We live, we grow up here. We try to do the best that we can to ensure that everyone is surviving and thriving, especially through the times that we’re going through.”

Peterson tries to carry items that customers could not find at a big box store.

“I think [shopping local is] critical. You know, that’s how all small towns started… from small mom and pop shops, and then when big box stores kind of take over, you lack the luster and enjoyment of coming to shop.”

Gorgeous Sorrels is at 101 S. Newton Ave in Albert Lea. Shopping can also be done online at