AMBOY – The place to be on Friday evening from 5 to 8 p.m. was at The Warehouse Boutique and Salon, 204 N. Jefferson Ave. The community turned-out in impressive numbers to welcome the new business to town.
Vickie Vinnedge-Gerdes and husband, Bill Gerdes, purchased the AgView FS warehouse two years ago and leased the warehouse part to Sensient Flavors. The south end was converted to accommodate Extreme Installs, and the detailing business continues to occupy that area.
Vinnedge-Gerdes said she originally thought of having an “occasional store” when the warehouse space became available but was approached about the need for salon space by local stylists. The concept of boutique and salon was formulated and the transformation from warehouse to a unique rustic/industrial space began.
The process, handled by Steve Noble Construction, took just over two months to complete and features materials from barns in the Franklin Grove and Ashton areas of Lee County.
The boutique features a variety of clothing, jewelry, gift items and home décor. The crowd showed their approval of the product choices by making 80 purchases during the three-hour grand opening. The boutique’s website, www.thewarehouseboutique.com, will be open soon and will provide the opportunity for online purchases for shoppers who prefer to shop from home.
The salon will be open the same hours as the boutique: Tuesday, Thursday and Friday from 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. and Saturday from 9 a.m. until noon. The four stylist areas will be filled by Kelli Aurand, Ashley Grim, Terri Leffelman, Tasha Omalley and Erika Taylor. Appointments can be made by calling the boutique, 815-857-9273.
Vinnedge-Gerdes would like to expand into the adjacent space of the vacant warehouse sometime next year. Her plans include an area for art classes in a variety of disciplines and she wants to start an Art Club for students ages 8-13 that no longer have art offered at school. Classes for adults in ceramics and crochet are also being considered. A third phase that would take-up the remaining warehouse space is still in the works.