Boutique owner benefits from 2 OCEDC programs

April 1, 2022

Boutique owner benefits from 2 OCEDC programs

Micro loan and business consulting available

Yvonne’s Classy Closet has a new roof over its head and a new lease of life, thanks to the support of the Oconto County Economic Development Corporation. The retail business in Lakewood received the technical and financial assistance it needed to update its store and survive the pandemic. 

Owner Yvonne Domke secured a $10,000 micro loan to replace the store’s roof and add a new entrance. She also worked one-on-one with business consultant Mike Mathews, program manager of the Oconto County Business Innovations Development Program.

OCBID is open to start-ups and small businesses in Oconto County seeking help to plan, start, expand, or transition their business. OCBID helps business owners assess and develop business concepts, sales and marketing strategies, revenue models and business operations.

“Mike helped me strategically with different charts and scenarios. He was there to counsel me to apply for the economic development loan,” Yvonne said. “It definitely helped, especially with the timing of the pandemic. Nobody was planning for a pandemic.”

Yvonne used the micro loan to pay for a new roof, front porch, and interior remodeling. The exterior of the boutique is a girly, pink and turquoise color, with a light and airy interior and fun atmosphere. The women’s clothing boutique sells trendy-style fashions in sizes small to 3 XL, plus shoes and accessories. The clothing is available in casual and dressy-casual styles, including graphic tees, sweatshirts, jeans, and loungewear.

“I love cheetah prints, so you’ll find a lot of cheetah prints and fun fashions,” Yvonne said.

Shoppers appreciate the variety of clothing sizes and styles and the boutique’s competitive prices. Yvonne’s Classy Closet, located at 15305 Highway 32, Lakewood, is across the street from the Northern D-Lite Ice Cream Shop.

In addition to the Lakewood store, Yvonne opened a Crandon store in February 2020, one month before the pandemic shut-down.

“It was a crazy time,” she said.

Yvonne earned a business management degree at Nicolet College in 2009 and worked as a billing specialist in the medical field for over 20 years. But Yvonne was an entrepreneur at heart, eager to open her own business.

Before opening the boutique, she made tutus and headbands to sell at craft shows, and she hosted purse parties. As an empty nester in 2016, she turned a spare bedroom into a store room and hosted fashion parties in her house. Then she renovated a camper into a mobile boutique for vendor events and craft fairs.

“It’s all about these small steps,” she said.

In 2018, she opened Yvonne’s Classy Closet in Lakewood. She was intrigued by the charm of the old gas station, but after a few years, the building needed a new roof and other updates. That’s where the micro loan came in handy.

Micro loans of $1,000-$10,000 are available through OCEDC for Oconto County small businesses with fewer than 25 employees and less than $1 million in annual sales.

“Eligibility is based on a number of factors, and loans can be used for a variety of purposes,” said Sammy Boucher, OCEDC tourism director. “Some businesses use the loans to purchase inventory, equipment or real estate, while others pay for building expansions or renovations. Contact our staff, and we’ll help you with the application process.”

To apply for a micro loan or to learn more about OCBID, visit or contact the OCEDC office at 1113 Main Street, Oconto, 920-834-6969, or