Drivers along U.S. Highway 71 may have been surprised by a brand new business in Wadena. Shelly Hudalla of Eagle Bend and BobbieJoe Crider of Clarissa quietly opened La Shabby Chic Boutique on Aug. 6.
The new and used clothing store occupies the former Nelson Fur Tree building across from the bowling alley. The colorful walls and Wadena's signature murals make it stand out.
The store features used clothing and new and used purses, jewelry, shoes and small household items. The emphasis is on women's clothing and accessories, but the inventory includes men's and children's clothing as well.
Crider and Hudalla said they planned to expand their inventory of new and used scrubs and add handmade soaps, homemade wool, fleece-lined gloves and other homemade products.
"We're looking for consigners, and our products change a lot daily," Hudalla said.
"We like unique things, different things," Crider said.
"We are like a new store every day," Hudalla said. "Stuff goes out of here, stuff comes in."
The decor, as indicated by the store's name, is in the "shabby chic" style with what Hudalla called "beat up, junky old furniture."
However, they stress the quality of the merchandise itself. They said the clothing is gently used and includes name brands.
"We're pretty picky about what we have to offer," Hudalla said.
Crider said she was surprised at the amount of business they have had in just two weeks. "We haven't even advertised yet," she said. "This is just from our signs and word of mouth."
"We kind of snuck in here," Hudalla joked.
The new business owners said they would have a grand opening at a date to be determined.
Hudalla said she had the idea of the consignment store in her head and mentioned it to her husband, who was very supportive.
"I just felt like it was something I was supposed to do," Hudalla said. She mentioned the idea to Crider at their Bible study. She said she prayed, "Fine, if you want me to do it, but find me a partner."
Crider herself approached her friend six days later and asked, "Do you still want to do that?"
"I guess it was an answer to prayer. I don't know what else you call that," Hudalla said.
A caption on the wall reads, "Faith is the strength by which a shattered world shall emerge into the light."
The two business partners had previously worked in the medical field and decided to do something different.
Hudalla said her husband called the realtor, and they were supposed to sign the lease on June 18. That did not work out.
"We couldn't get back into the city," said Crider, referring to the immediate tornado aftermath. She said they finally got around to it weeks later.
The store is open Wednesday through Saturday, but Hudalla and Crider said they are open to expanding their hours in the future.
"We've had a lot of positive comments," said Hudalla. "A lot of people come through [and say] Wadena needs something like this."
La Shabby Chic Boutique can be reached at (218) 632-6210.