Web Extra! Slideshow

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Storefronts along Madison Street are blooming with merchants’ spring offerings. Great attention to detail has been paid as students from Dominican University’s retail promotion and visual merchandising class teamed up in pairs of two with local shop owners to create one-of-a-kind designs in the storefronts.

For the 16 students in professor Melissa Carr’s class, this pairing offered them an opportunity to reach out beyond classroom work and tackle, what’s for some, their first time working with a real-world business.

“We are the silent seller, so it’s how do you arrange things in the store … to get the customer to actually want to come in,” says Carr of the project’s goal. Students were given $50 to buy supplies for their window. This was the second time students from the Carr’s class have teamed up with local businesses.

At Team Blonde, 7442 Madison, juniors Stephanie Foley and Mary Hoemeyer took on the store’s eco-friendly theme and ran with the idea.

They used painted newspaper to create three dresses in spring colors, which they teamed with jewelry and other accessories available in the store. The project here has been a success, says Heidi Vance, co-owner of Team Blonde. “We had a lady stop the other day because of what she had seen from the window … It helps her and it really helps me. It’s nice to make a connection with the community.”

The success of the windows came from careful planning from the students. After meeting with owners Vance and Jayne Ertel, to approve drawings and promote their ideas, the girls discovered the store’s lesser-known wedding offerings and integrated that idea into the smaller window.

“I love it,” says Vance of the store’s second student/store project with Dominican. “In this field, the more you get to do, the better. The fact they get to work real windows … I would guess is a different concept of window dressing.” From this project, Vance has taken on Foley as the store’s summer intern, where she’ll have more opportunities to create more windows for the store.