My wife and I went to the grand opening of Bluff Creek Boutique in downtown Shakopee last Saturday. We spent more than a half hour browsing, enjoying a mimosa, and talking to some friends we happened to see there.

The store has women’s clothes, accessories, purses, household knickknacks, sunglasses, and more. The store owner and employees were friendly and helpful, which you would expect on opening day. But I suspect they are genuinely friendly and will be nice every time we go in. The place has a good vibe and the type of clothing my wife would wear.

We ended up buying a pullover sweatshirt and a stylish jacket. The jacket was made in Turkey with super-soft Turkish cotton, which feels very comfortable. We like the store and will be back.

It’s nice to see businesses opening in Shakopee. Having new businesses open is a sign of a vibrant community and will hopefully encourage more people to shop and spend locally.

We’ve recently seen Sabbai’s The Donut Hole open just east of Canterbury Park. The place was bustling each time I stopped in. The doughnuts taste great, the place offers an extensive variety of unique teas that are popular, and I enjoy seeing the employees interact with customers as they make the doughnuts. I’m always drawn to the gigantic mixer that’s visible in the kitchen area because I’ve never seen one that big.

Other businesses are expected to open around town. Texas Roadhouse is planning to open in the Southbridge area. People I know who have eaten at the franchise recommend it, and the menu does look good.

I will admit to eating way more pizza than I should, so I’m happy about Red’s Savoy Pizza coming to Old Carriage Court in Southbridge. According to a social media post, the family opening the restaurant have lived in Shakopee for six years and own the location in Eden Prairie, which is where I go when I need my Savoy fix. Between Turtles and Savoy, two of my favorite pizza places will now be local.

The store Five Below is coming to the strip mall between Kohls and Target. The retailer offers clothes, toys, games, beauty and skin care products, and more, primarily for kids and teenagers with products mostly costing $5 or less, which is where the company gets its name. A Planet Fitness gym is also planning to open in that strip mall.

Unfortunately, there was also some disappointing news last week with Taco Loco announcing that it’s closing on April 28. In a message to customers, the owners said in part, “With over 18 years of serving the Shakopee community we have come to a point where we can no longer keep up with these difficult times.” It’s sad to see this happening, especially for a business that was so supportive of our community and schools for nearly two decades.

Hopefully for the sake of all local businesses, they will be able to fully open soon and people will feel comfortable getting out to shop and dine at restaurants. It’s good for local businesses, and it’s good for people like me who enjoy the social experience.

Brett Martin is a guest columnist who’s been a Shakopee resident for over 15 years.

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