It’s official: Ribbon cut at a new swimwear boutique

Francine Makuwa cuts the ribbon with giant scissors under the watchful eye of brother Fiston and DJ Sterling Golden.

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IPSWICH – Friends and business colleagues were on hand Tuesday morning when the city’s newest store celebrated its grand opening.

Although Makuwa swimsuit (MSW) has been open on South Main Street since October, owner Francine Makuwa took the giant scissors from the Greater Cape Ann Chamber of Commerce and officially launched the business on March 1.

Originally from the Democratic Republic of Congo and a resident of Ipswich for four years, Makuwa said she started hand crocheting swimwear in 2016.

She took a break to go to college. After moving to Ipswich, she said she saw a need in the market for her swimwear and other clothing.

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“With the support of my friends and family, I was able to start the business,” she said. “Ipswich is my home so I wanted to do something for the community,” she added.

The store also offers swimwear-adjacent accessories such as goggles, sun hats, and flip-flops. Makuwa also added other clothing more appropriate for this time of year in New England.

Opening the business on March 1 was a great start to Women’s History Month and a fitting end to Black History Month, “as a mom [of two] and as a minority business owner,” she noted.


Another entrepreneur was on hand to present her new product to the group. “I invited my dear friend here who just started her coffee business,” Makuwa said of Silvia Via.

Based in Lynn, Via launched Via Guatemala Coffee in November 2021. Originally from Guatemala, coming to America from an orphanage at the age of 7, Via has described her java as a boutique product.

With jars at the opening of the MSW containing four different blends, Via said it was paying farmers more for their beans because “I was tired of companies coming to exploit my country”.

“Where are the schools? Where are the things that will help my people? she asked.


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