SHAKOPEE — Michele Starbeck and Allie Erickson giggled like old school friends while Erickson nursed her baby girl inside Stacked, a plus-size consignment store in downtown Shakopee that Starbeck owns.

Shopping can be intimidating for women, especially those who aren’t sure if an extra-large shirt at Target will fit after it’s thrown in the dryer. For women who wear plus-size clothing, affordable and fashionable outfits can be mutually exclusive.

That’s why Starbeck started Stacked, a consignment store and boutique for plus-size women. The store has outgrown its location, attracting women from across the state.

Erickson used to drive an hour and a half from her home in Wisconsin to get to Stacked before she moved to Andover. Now she drives 40 minutes. The drive is well worth it, she said. She’s met women at the store who have driven two to three hours to get there.

Erickson and Starbeck became fast friends through the store. On this particular Friday afternoon, Starbeck greeted all but one customer by name. She asked them about their jobs and children and whether they needed help picking out a new shirt for a work event coming up.

“Females can be competitive … but somehow that has stayed outside of here,” Starbeck said. “People come in who don’t know each other, and they’re complementing each other, exchanging clothes in the fitting rooms, and they’re like, ‘Girl, you have a great butt!’”

Erickson said Stacked is the only store she’s been to where she’s left feeling better than when she came in, even if she didn’t buy anything. Despite her long drive time to get to the store, she doesn’t buy clothing in bulk. Instead, she’ll peruse the racks, talking and laughing with friends and strangers, sometimes recommending pieces of clothing to other women.

This time, Erickson stopped by to show Starbeck her new baby.

“She’s our mascot baby,” Starbeck said.

Stacked operates both as a consignment shop and a boutique, with gently used clothing at the front of the store and new boutique items located in the back. Clothing for sale also includes maternity outfits, swimsuits, undergarments, hand bags, shoes and accessories.

“I’ll have customers buy a really nice boutique sweater, who go to the front of the store and get an $80 pair of jeans for $18 to go with the more expensive sweater,” Starbeck said.

Stacked is open Wednesdays through Fridays from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., and Sundays from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Maddie DeBilzan graduated with a journalism degree from Bethel University. She’s interned at Salon Media and the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Outside of work, she sifts through Goodwill clothing racks, listens to Ben Rector's music and goes on long runs.

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