National retail veterans starting store in Sioux Falls

May 21, 2018

Their resumes read like a who’s who of retail.

First, there was Target Corp., where they served as a buyer and in product development.

Then came Pottery Barn and Old Navy, where they shopped global markets and visited factories worldwide.

But life brought Tom Utrera and his wife, Stacey Roemen Utrera, back to South Dakota, where she grew up in Dell Rapids.

And now they’re using their industry experience to start their own business, Rust & Co., which will open later this summer at The Bridges at 57th.

“We always wanted to do our own brand in a place and a city we love, and we wanted our family to be part of a city we love, and that led us to coming back to Sioux Falls,” Tom Utrera said.

They’re used to helping run chains with thousands of locations, and they’re drawing on that knowledge in crafting their own brand.

Rust & Co. will offer men’s and women’s clothing, shoes and accessories in a 3,500-square-foot space on the end of The Bridges. It most recently was Forget Me Not, which moved to a different space at the retail center.

The store will sell versatile merchandise “that takes you from office to play, from day to night, focusing on quality and comfort and core style,” Utrera said. “There’s definitely something for everyone there. It’s clothing that’s modern, yet timeless, because quality is really important to us.”

The store experience is designed to be different from anything in the market, Roemen Utrera said, with distinct spaces for men and women.

“We want it to be a fun environment, casual, cool, a place you want to spend time,” she said. “There’s often a feeling you have to drive to Minneapolis or Omaha to shop for certain brands, or people feel like there’s not a big enough offering here, so we want to bring some of that to Sioux Falls.”

The name is based around their initials, and the “and company” is a reference to their two daughters.

“The store won’t be rustic at all; it’s actually pretty modern, so there’s a juxtaposition there,” Utrera said. ”We’re truly trying to build out a brand.”

Their location seems meant to be, they added. They originally looked at it last fall but weren’t ready to commit yet. It’s rare for a vacancy to stay on the market at The Bridges that long, but this one did.

“We definitely wanted to be in a shopping complex we felt already had great other shops and restaurants,” she said. “And it does feel like a shopping complex and not a typical strip mall. It’s really elevated.”

The Bridges also recently added Turks & Caicos Cabana Grille in the former Bracco location, which the store owners anticipate will bring more visitors to the area.

“It’s really offering a good all-around experience for the customer, from food to apparel to other services, so I think it’s a great location, and we’re adding to what’s existing there,” Utrera said.

They plan to start hiring closer to their opening, which is planned for sometime in August.

“We’re in the process of really building out our store,” Utrera said. “We’ve been to several markets already, and we have the majority of product we know we’re bringing. Now we just need to bring it to life.”

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National retail veterans starting store in Sioux Falls

Two retail industry veterans are using national experience to create a brand in Sioux Falls.

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