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04/13/2023 02:46PM ● By TAY GREENLEAF
In 2011, Alexis Pomerleau would have never imagined she would be at the helm of two successful brick and mortar shops in Burlington. At the time, Jess Boutique had just opened at its Church St. location with resounding love from the community. Originally the passion project of her cousin Jess Pomerleau-Halnon, Alexis can recall the whirlwind of opening day saying, “It was just a flurry of people coming in and trying on dresses. I don’t think any of us stopped moving from the minute we opened to when the doors closed.”

 Be the center of attention in one of our elegant evening gowns or cocktail dresses.

Shop bright and beautiful separates, with colors just in time for spring! 

Add a little sparkle with jewelry from designers like Julie Vos (pictured), Dean Davidson, Lizzie Fortunado, and more. 

After the untimely death of Jess from a courageous battle with breast cancer in 2020, Alexis has taken up her cousin’s work of running both the original Jess Boutique and it’s sister store, Expressions .

With Jess’ mother, Dee Pomerleau, the stores are perfectly curated with a good eye for great designs and aesthetics. While both locations always keep the current trends and their customer base in mind, each store has a different specialty. Jess Boutique caters to a clientele of 30s and beyond and specializes in more formal attire such as ball gowns, bridesmaids dresses and event wear. To match its elegant designs, The decor is just as sophisticated, with intricate window displays, seasonal flower arrangements and a dedicated dress gallery. “What I hear from a lot of people who come in [to Jess Boutique] is ‘wow this looks like it could be in New York City,’”says Alexis. Expressions, which is located right next door, has a slightly more casual feel. “You’ll find a lot of cottons and linens–mostly organic materials,” Alexis explains.Jess purchased the roughly 40-year- old business in 2019 and went to great lengths to preserve the aesthetic that the original owners had worked to curate, which feels chic and warm for customers looking to spend some time searching the racks.

Alexis explains that while they want to carry the most sought after designs for their customers, they always want each client to feel like family. “Not only are you able to find beautiful things to wear, it’s also about feeling really incredible and feeling really taken care of when you’re in the store,” she says. “When people walk through that door it’s not about ‘what can I sell you?’ It’s about ‘What can I do for you?’”

 Dazzling shoes and purses to add to any outfit.

 Brides can shop for special pieces for all their upcoming events! Find white dresses and accessories perfect for engagement parties, bridal showers, or even day-of.

 Make a statement with bold belts and bags! 

That philosophy has helped both Jess Boutique and Expressions attract loyal customers over the years who help shape the designs and styles of the store. Beyond the fashion, Alexis attributes the loyalty of the regulars to both shop’s ability to stay afloat during the Covid pandemic. At a time when much of Vermont was on lockdown, the two boutiques were forced to close their doors, but that didn’t stop Alexis from opening up the stores virtually. One of the creative tactics they employed during that time was using Instagram’s live video feature to sell clothes. Alexis would set up her camera and provide viewers with a QVC-style broadcast showcasing all the different products they had available in the store. Viewers could comment on the live videos, giving them the chance to interact with Alexis and ask questions to get the same level of service they would receive if they visited the store in person. They also experimented with offering what Alexis calls “style boxes.” Customers would provideJess Boutique with their sizes and a little information about what kinds of clothes they were looking for and Alexis and the rest of the team would put together a curated collection of items from the store. These “style boxes” were then dropped off on customers’ doorsteps, allowing them to enjoy a personal shopping experience in a social distance friendly way.

 Look and feel your best self in your favorite designers, including Nic+Zoe, Elliott Lauren, Margaret O’Leary, and many more.

 Beautiful necklaces and earrings from Deborah Grivas will add a special touch to any outfit!

 At Expressions you can find the widest selection of Eileen Fisher in the Burlington area. 

Now, thankfully past the struggles of the pandemic, Alexis keeps looking for more ways to evolve the two businesses. While she is very thankful for the use of social media and the internet to keep the stores alive in quarantine, Alexis stresses first and foremost the stores will remain part of the community as brick and mortar establishments. “We build our brands off of our customer buying habits and preferences,” says Alexis. “Having the ability to be in the community and keep things fresh in a way that our customers want to see is the most important thing.”



98 Church St. 

Burlington, VT 05401

 (802) 660-4004


102 Church St. 

Burlington, VT 05401 

(802) 864-0414 

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