Peoria boutique owners push through one-two punch of challenges to stay open

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PEORIA, Ill. (WMBD) – Janet Cornish-Davis and her husband, George, are no strangers to style.

“My mother was a dresser. Yeah. She was a dresser. Everybody knew her in Peoria. My husband’s family, they’re top quality dresses too,” said Cornish-Davis.

So with a nudge from George, it was not much of a surprise when the couple of 32 years decided to open Janet’s Just For You. It’s a women and menswear boutique that has been a fixture in Peoria for the last 27 years. 

“They want me to dress them. You know ‘Make me gorgeous,’ because a lot of people don’t know how to dress or how to put it together,” Cornish-Davis said.

But her journey through entrepreneurship has not come without its hurdles. The couple’s store was recently featured in a New York Times article chronicling some of the challenges. Cornish-Davis has had spinal complications and trying to run the boutique in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic has been difficult.

“I have been sick and been like shut down for a month or so and it has never [taken] this kind of impact.”

janet cornish-davis

The Davises shut the business down in March once the state’s stay-at-home order went into effect. But reopening it came with a one-two punch.

“Right in the midst of trying to get back, then the rioting and all of that started. So we had to board up and still sit down again and just wait it out,” said Cornish-Davis.

Looting and a series of arsons took place across the city of Peoria in early June. The acts followed a nationwide outcry for police reform after George Floyd’s death. Janet’s Just For You remained untouched during the violence, but the couple decided to board up shop for the foreseeable future.

Both Janet and George have lingering concerns about police brutality and any looting that may come in response.

“When you give back to your community and you’re hard-working in your church and you know you’re always doing something, and then for you to feel like someone would come in and just tear up or take from you, when you’re always giving,” Cornish-Davis said.

But Cornish-Davis said the nationwide concerns about police brutality are all too real for her family.

She said, “My son right here in Peoria Heights had five police guns to his head saying he had stole a truck from Uhaul and he had not. He had rented it and all the papers there.”

Right now, Janet’s Just For You is only open by appointment, but the Davises are hoping to get back up and running soon.

“We’re all working hard to have what we want to have and do what we want to do in life because it’s not easy,” Cornish-Davis said.

For appointments, you can contact Janet’s Just For You at (309) 685-7844.

The Davises are also the founders of the Help-A-Child scholarship fund. They fundraise to offer college students money to continue their studies.

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