Owner of shop hopes to capitalize on influx of Grafton medical personnel
Retired chiropractor David Engstrom never claimed to be a fashion guru, but today’s stormy economy seems to make the improbable become possible.
Three weeks ago, Engstrom opened The Scrub Hub — a Grafton boutique selling apparel and accessories to those in the health-care field — in the space occupied by his chiropractic clinic for 20 years.
The shop is at 1240 13th Ave.
“I retired as a chiropractor three years ago and hoped to rent the space to someone in the health-care profession, but there was no interest. There is a lot of vacant office space out there,” Engstrom said.
“After about two years of trying to rent the space, plans were finalized for Aurora to build a hospital in Grafton. About that same time, Columbia St. Mary’s decided to build a clinic in town.”
That’s when Engstrom began talking to his daughter, Jennifer Delacruz, a registered nurse at the Clement Zablocki Veterans Administration Medical Center in Milwaukee, about opening a shop catering to those in the medical profession.
“She talked to her nurse friends at the VA and had all sorts of ideas of what kinds of things we could sell at the shop,” Engstrom said.
He was sold on the idea after learning there are few shops specializing in medical apparel in the area.
“I think the nearest store is in Brookfield, which can be as much as an hour away from here depending on traffic,” Engstrom said.
The cornerstone of the venture is scrubs, loose-fitting and often colorful apparel that define the wardrobe of most people working in hospitals and medical clinics.
After a little marketing research and a lot of input from those in the medical field, Engstrom began to order clothing and accessories.
“It took about three months to convert the office to retail space, putting in shelving and display racks,” he said.
The shop carries a surprising variety of labels — Cherokee, Peaches, Littmann, Koi and Med Couture.
Basic scrub sets sell for about $20, but high-end designs — like those inspired by the Grey’s Anatomy television show — can cost up to $50.
Engstrom said most nurses have to purchase their own scrubs, and they often use their choices as an opportunity to express their individuality.
“We carry seasonal scrubs for Halloween and Christmas and even have several styles of Green Bay Packer-themed scrubs,” he said.
“I was at a veterinary clinic in Mequon the other day, and the staff there was so excited when they learned that we carry animal-themed scrubs with dogs and cats on them.”
Engstrom even took on the role of a walking billboard when he wore a set of Packer scrubs to a recent Grafton Area Chamber of Commerce meeting while introducing his business.
He said spreading the word about the location of the shop depends on the age of the audience.
“When I talk to younger nurses, I always say it is near the Milwaukee Ale House. They all seem to know where that is,” Engstrom said. “If they are a little bit older, I say we are just down the road from Heim’s Shoe Store.”
His daughter-in-law, Amie Engstrom, operates the store and has quickly become a fan of the clothing.
“I try to wear scrubs to work all the time, and I find them to be really comfortable,” she said.
The appeal goes beyond the medical field, Engstrom said he knows people who wear scrubs when they are doing their housecleaning, because they are comfortable and easy to clean.
The shop also carries an array of shoes and lab coats, as well as stethoscopes, blood-pressure cuffs, pen lights and name tags.
Engstrom said he intends to remain behind the scene of the retail venture.
“I come in and pay the bills and maybe change a light bulb or two if I feel like it, but I am not going to be up front making the sales,” he said.
The store is open weekdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
THE SCRUB HUB is now open in the former Engstrom Chiropractic Clinic in downtown Grafton. Showing off one of the popular Green Bay Packer scrubs is store manager Amie Engstrom and her father-in-law, shop owner David Engstrom. The store is intended to cater to the influx of medical personnel to the community, where a new hospital and medical clinic will soon open. Photo by Mark Jaeger