Meet the husband-wife duo behind Motto and Flourish -- two clothing boutiques in Geneva

  • Kathryn and Steve Quinn are owners of Flourish women's boutique and Motto men's clothing store along Third Street in Geneva.

    Kathryn and Steve Quinn are owners of Flourish women's boutique and Motto men's clothing store along Third Street in Geneva. Courtesy of Dave Heun

Posted10/11/2019 6:00 AM

This "man cave" is on the lower level of a building and it has beverages, candles, cologne, soap and an assortment of jackets, shirts and jeans.

Motto is not your typical man cave as far as that goes, but it is perfect for Steve Quinn, a retired Northern Illinois graphic design instructor who has followed the lead of his wife, Kathryn, in opening the first men's store in Geneva since Erday's closed in 2013 after 87 years in business.


Motto is located at 217 S. Third St. in Suite 90 and earned its "man cave" tag from Quinn because it is located just below the Flourish women's boutique operated by Kathryn.

"When Kathryn opened Flourish (just more than a year ago), we were thinking about a men's clothing section in the store because in this whole historic shopping district, there is no men's clothing store," Steve said. "But there wasn't enough room in Flourish, and then the space below it became available."

It was an opportunity to serve the men who were generally tagging along with wives or girlfriends while they shopped along Third Street, or were in town for dinner or drinks.

"I would be working with Kathryn in Flourish, and the guys would come in and they were bored because they had nothing to do," Steve said. "No one was serving this market, and there are just as many men walking around at times around here as there are women."

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Those men won't be able to miss seeing Motto. Jackets and shirts are on display outside the store, luring men down the stairs to see what the place is all about.

It's not a large store by any measure. But it has what men are looking for.

"The shirts are probably the bestsellers, but there is interest in all of the items in the store," Steve said, pointing to shaving kits, computer cases and a slick sport coat he calls a "tech blazer."

It was good that Kathryn had opened Flourish, as the idea of a retail store started to sink in strongly for Steve as he was finishing his teaching career. Kathryn had already laid the groundwork for retail careers.

"I always had a dream to open a store like Flourish," said Kathryn, who had a career in clothing design for Oshkosh Kids in Milwaukee for nearly 15 years before moving with Steve to Oak Park and eventually closer to the Tri-Cities.


She worked at Scentimental Gardens in Geneva for a period of time and learned how to run a business from owner Debra Phillips, who recently celebrated the 30th anniversary of her business.

"I learned so much from Debbie, so I was in retail then and wanted to do my own business and finally took the leap and decided to open Flourish," she added. "So far, the community has loved Flourish, and we are thinking about the best hours to have for Motto and to get the word out that Geneva has another men's clothing store."

The somewhat unique concept is not lost on customers.

"People seem to love the idea of it being an upstairs-downstairs, husband-wife operated business," Kathryn said. "We also like hearing from women that they want their men to 'step up' their looks. I tell them we have that downstairs now, and they get excited about that."

A scary place

A few readers, most likely getting in the Halloween spirit, have mentioned St. Charles is lucky to have a unique store that focuses on "monsters and horror."

Well, I'm not sure that we're "lucky" to have something like this in town. Let's just say the owners of Ghoulish Mortals figured we like this kind of stuff when they opened the store at 228 W. Main St.

It has a "kid friendly" area of the store, as well as a "gory back section" for teens and adults.

But this is the place for all sorts of sculptures, art, dolls, jewelry, stickers, patches and other things related to horror genre that takes center stage at this time of year.

The store is closed Mondays and opens at noon every other day of the week.

More than spokes

In sharing a few thoughts the past two weeks about the small businesses, or "hidden" gems in our area, it's always a bonus to learn more about the business I mentioned above and beyond its address and what is sold there.

That was the case when my friend Jon Hull of St. Charles informed me that his son-in-law operates the "All Spoked Up" bike shop in Batavia.

He didn't sing the praises of the store, per se, just that his son-in-law Matt Knowles has contributed significantly to the biking industry, as well as helping underprivileged kids in the community.

Knowles does this by fixing old bikes he takes in trade, and then giving them to kids in need.

"To date, he's given away hundreds of bikes," Hull said.

That is certainly something to get "spoked up" about.

Keep tabs on health

With an aging Baby Boomer population, and seemingly new health threats popping up all of the time, all ages certainly benefit from knowing as much about health as possible.

I'm thinking that is what the folks at Grace Lutheran Church in Lily Lake have in mind in hosting a free Health Fair from 9 a.m. to noon Saturday, Oct. 19, at the church at 5N600 Hanson Road.

Among the various vendors and exhibits, visitors can get flu shots from Walgreens, free eye exams for kids 6 months to 18 years, blood pressure checks, estate planning, yoga and spiritual health, CPR sessions, massage therapy, posture and spinal checks and participate in a blood drive.

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