LAKE HALLIE — Young Chippewa Valley entrepreneurs Alyssa Tollefson and Lexi Dawson opened The Hive, a café/boutique/event space, during early 2020 in Lake Hallie.
Located in the spot that previously was Deb’s Café, the duo wanted to create a place where area women could connect with each other. But when the COVID-19 pandemic hit last March, it resulted in big changes for the young business owners.
Due to inability to bring the café and event space to their full potential because of coronavirus restrictions, those aspects of The Hive closed in December to make way for the boutique to expand.
Chic Sweets Desserts bakery moved into the restaurant space in December, and The Hive’s expanded boutique opened last month.
Tollefson said the transition to becoming only a boutique is the best decision for herself, her business partner and their customers.
“The restaurant wasn’t our passion,” Tollefson said. “And with the way things have been going with COVID, we decided for the well-being of our mental health and the business itself to pivot towards something we are more passionate about.”
The Hive now sells women’s apparel, accessories and home goods. In addition to their retail space they offer personal styling both in-person and online. Their online presence includes a messaging feature in which The Hive’s employees are available to help potential customers with sizing and style tips.
Transitioning from one type of business to another can be a stressful time for any business owner, but when you mix in a worldwide pandemic it can be emotionally and physically taxing. Tollefson said not being able to realize the original business’ full potential was disappointing, but she plans to make the best of the situation and pivot whenever she needs to.
“It’s been incredibly stressful, but at the same time we’ve done the best we can during these challenges,” she said. “Nobody expected something like this to happen, so we never really got the chance to start the business we had originally intended for this space. We’ve been constantly adapting to challenges and trying to make the best of them. We wanted the original business to be centered around large gatherings, but obviously that hasn’t been possible.”
Another challenging aspect of the new boutique has been navigating the confusion among their customer base.
Due to the quick changes to the already new business, when customers search for The Hive online they often run into old information about the restaurant, but that aspect of the business is no longer open. Tollefson said the best way for any customer to get up-to-date information about The Hive is to visit their website thehivecv.com.
Although The Hive has had to roll with the changes COVID-19 has thrust upon them, Tollefson said they are still incredibly thankful to be a part of the Chippewa Valley small business community.
“People supporting local businesses has been really eye opening and promising in this community specifically,” Tollefson said. “I feel people think it’s important to support local businesses here, so we are very thankful to be a part of that.”