By John Bush The Lima News, Ohio
Wonderfully Made Boutique owner Megan Opperman has turned an affinity for fashion into a thriving business in downtown Wapakoneta.
Located at 18 W. Auglaize St., Wonderfully Made is a women's boutique that offers the "latest trends in women's fashion," Opperman said. Opened in March, the boutique sells clothing, accessories, jewelry and shoes for women ages 13 and up.
"I've always had a passion for clothes and styling people, so I thought I might as well try it," Opperman said. "I took that leap of faith, and so far it's gone very well."
Opperman is new to the business world, as she had been working as a nurse for the last several years. Though she now owns her own store, she has continued her career, working whenever she is needed at the Institute for Orthopaedic Surgery.
"It's two opposite ends of the spectrum -- helping people and styling people," she said. "I still have a passion for both, so I consider nursing my career and the boutique as more of a hobby that turned into a business."
Opperman sold clothes on the internet when she first started, but her online market never really took off.
"I learned that people really want to see, feel and try on clothes," she said.
She then started selling clothing at Thrifty Treasures, an antique and specialty shop in downtown Wapakoneta. She said she never anticipated how popular her apparel would be.
"It literally felt like I couldn't keep things on the rack," she said. "So after that I decided to go all in and open a brick-and-mortar store."
With no stand-alone boutiques in Wapakoneta, Opperman said she was filling a need in the community.
"I've been getting a lot of feedback, especially from people who live in Wapak, who say it's so nice to not have to drive to Lima and scour the stores," she said. "I'm also hearing that people like having options other than large chain stores because there's things here that not everybody is going to have."
Opperman said she prides herself in offering unique clothing items to her customers. She said she purchases each article of clothing on a very limited basis, and when an item is sold out, it's gone for good in most cases.
"I don't want everybody in town wearing the same thing," she said. "Since Wapak is a smaller town, I don't want people to deviate from coming here because they're going to have the same outfit as Jane or whoever else in town. It's not like Kohl's where you'll have like 36 of one item."
Despite being an "outsider," Opperman -- who grew up in Lima -- said she is fitting in well with the other specialty shops in downtown Wapakoneta. She has joined the Wapakoneta Antique and Specialty Shops organization, and is a member of the chamber of commerce. She said the community has embraced her.
"A lot of people said, 'if you're not from here, your business is probably not going to thrive,' but I haven't felt that," she said. "I think the people here are embracing change, and they take a lot of pride in their downtown. I feel like the downtown area is starting to come back, and people are glad to see that."