En Route Fashion Boutique turns fashion into a community affair

Jennifer Wagner is the owner of Mahomet's newest fashion boutique — En Route Fashion Boutique. The 401 W. Oak St. store front is the former home of Mahomet Landscapes.

A brick-and-mortar shop wasn't always in the plans for the former financial advisor. Wagner started En Route as a side business while working on obtaining her International Coaching Federation certification.

En Route Fashion Boutique first started as a traveling boutique.

"I did events and home shows as my business model," Wagner said.

Come winter, Wagner found it difficult for her customers to return to her home and see more product. So she set her sights on finding a space that would match her new business plan.

"I was always looking for a new spot, but never really found anything that I was that excited about," she said. "Once this came up, we jumped on it."

Wagner found the space so inviting that she decided to turn it into a rentable space for the community to enjoy as well. Her event venue, better known as Depot 401, showcases both the building and the outdoor space.

Downstairs of the two-story building is for events while the upstairs loft holds the boutique. Step outdoors and the venue's patio has something for everyone.

The secluded space features chandeliers in the trees and a patio equipped with a grill, and even a fire pit for those fireside chats.

"We also have large yard games such as Connect Four, Jenga and large dice," Wagner said. "We even have a putting green."

Fashionistas will enjoy the upstairs loft with racks upon racks of clothing lining the walls. Wagner's style includes fashion T-shirts, workout clothes, work wear and even the beloved Bulldog apparel for those in search of Mahomet-Seymour pride.

"It's trendier, but classy style," Wagner said in describing her hand-selected products.

The boutique owner traveled to several trade shows to select just the right vendors for her West Coast vibe.

"I'm trying to bring that west coast feel to the Midwest," she said.

More than L.A. fashion, Wagner hopes her boutique sparks a trend to the return of good old customer service in an online shopping world.

"I want to make sure everyone is taken care of and that they're happy with their clothes and the experience they have while shopping," Wagner said.

"It's a welcoming place where you can feel it (the clothing), touch it and know how it fits before you take it home."

But for those who still prefer the ease and convenience of online shopping, Wagner has that, too. Her website (enrouteboutique.com) features several accessories, clothing, handbags and jewelry.

More than anything, Wagner wants to provide a sense of community.

"I want people to come in and experience it and enjoy it," she said. "I wanted it to be a different experience other than just go into a shop and just buy."

Wagner aims to accomplish that goal by hosting events and providing the little details to make En Route a must-go Mahomet destination.

She will also offer café items, such as coffee, salads and sandwiches to invite individuals to stick around and explore the space.

"It's just a relaxing place," Wagner added. "Come drink coffee and just hang out."

En Route is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.

Wagner hopes locals will stop in, say hello and stick around in the space she envisioned as a community hangout spot.

"I want to make this a fun venture," Wagner said. "Just come out, hang out and enjoy. We'll even have fires going sometimes. I want people to know they're always welcome."


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