Boutiques Bringing Business to Rural Nebraska

BYRON, Neb.- During our travels across the state, we've discovered many shopping opportunities in Nebraska's small towns.

In Byron, Kara Wenske and Charlotte Tietjen decided to fill a demand for a high-end boutique, by opening up a store on main street called "Good Intentions". When they opened up to the public for a sneak peak in December, it was a full house. "We almost sold out of all the jewelry that we had, almost all the clothes, so we've been restocking since then," Good Intentions co-owner Charlotte Tietjen said.

Not only is the merchandise unique in the Byron boutique, but so is the building where the store is located. "We think it started out as a doctor's office," Good Intentions co-owner Kara Wenske said. "And then it was a telephone office, and then it went to a hairdressers business. Then an agronomy office, and right before we had it, it was a photography business," Wenske said.

Obviously their building has had a lot of uses over the years, and Good Intentions owners hope to continue to grow their new business now. More than ever, it seems small businesses like this are filling a void on main streets in rural Nebraska towns. Another example would be the high-end boutique "Five Arrows" just next to the Shafer's General Store in Beaver City. Owner Erin Shafer says sales have been great.. and she and her family worked hard to save the building where the store is located.

In Neligh, there's another example of a new clothing business inside and older building. Peas and Carrots is a gently used children's boutique.. offering sizes from newborns to size 14-16. At one point, the building could have been condemned, but it was renovated. Store owners Sara Ahlers bought it.. and now she enjoys doing business here. "It's great to be part of a small community and a rural community. I grew up in a rural community and was fortunate enough to move to another small community. The closeness and how everyone wants to support local business has been overwhelming, and I'm thankful for that," Ahlers said.

On a recent road trip to Eustis.. we discovered a main street boutique called "The Dusty Canyon", offering clothing and gift items you might only find in larger cities. These kinds of stores are not only filling a need, but they are also serving as another reason to visit Nebraska small towns. Owners of Good intentions in Byron say.. they look forward to seeing more customers. "We are really trying to find stuff that you can't find everywhere, and make it a destination shopping trip for people who say hey we should go to Byron so people can see our great little town," Wenske said.