How This Couple Turned a Flea Market Stand into Upscale Las Vegas Store


Opening an upscale boutique on the Las Vegas Strip might seem like a lofty goal for many new entrepreneurs. But for those who start small and do their research, it is possible to reach lofty goals like this.

This was the case for Richard Clark and Clare Skinner, a couple who started their small business journey by selling at local flea markets in Jacksonville, Florida. After about a year, the family started selling at pop-up boutiques at Air Station Jacksonville. But everything changed when the couple vacationed in Las Vegas, and Skinner got the idea to open a store in the popular tourist destination.

Clark, a retired U.S. Air Force Veteran, told News4JAX, “We came back to Jacksonville, you know, all excited. We had to put together a game plan, and we figured we needed to show them something. So she contacted Caesars Palace, MGM, everybody — the Palms Hotel, every casino hotel and resort in Las Vegas. We were just getting feedback and then we sat down together to see what we needed to do.”

Though Vegas was their ultimate goal, the couple learned that these venues were looking for businesses with a solid track record. So they decided to open a store at the Galleria Mall in Fort Lauderdale to build extra credibility.

The store, named Mahruyeh, features upscale fashion items handcrafted by Skinner. The family eventually moved the store to Fashion Show Mall in Las Vegas. They set up the store themselves with no help from contractors, just occasional support from friends and family. They hope their current location will put them in a better spot to eventually reach their ultimate goal of opening a store in Caesars Palace.

This story illustrates how important it is for business owners to stay focused on a goal and take incremental steps to get there. If your goal is to open an upscale store in Las Vegas, you’re likely not going to get there right away. But starting with flea markets, then moving to pop-up shops and local malls can make it much more reasonable.

Once Clark and Skinner determined their goal of opening a store in Las Vegas, they did their research to find out what these venues looked for. Then they created a plan to make it happen.

Ultimately, your business goals may look entirely different. But researching what it takes and steadily taking steps is something that can apply to nearly every business journey.


Annie Pilon Annie Pilon is a Senior Staff Writer for Small Business Trends and has been a member of the team for 12 years. Annie covers feature stories, community news and in-depth, expert-based guides. She has a bachelor’s degree from Columbia College Chicago in Journalism and Marketing Communications.