By Sam Jack
XO Boutique, open since May on Argonia’s Main Street, got its start when owner Lesley Thompson decided that her love of shopping could and should become a business.
“I have closets full of clothes, so I always said I consider myself a ‘professional shopper,’” Thompson said. “That’s what I like to do for fun. So I decided, what better way to do that than to shop for other pepole and open a store?”
For a year, Thompson ran XO Boutique out of the basement of her house, hosting parties and offering goods online.
She noticed the former home of the Four Seasons restaurant, 121 N. Main St. on the market in March. By May, she had bought the building and opened XO as a storefront business.
XO Boutique offers womens clothing and accessories, in a variety of styles and in sizes ranging from small to 3XL.
New stock comes in every month, Thompson said, and she puts an emphasis on items you won’t see elsewhere, along with outfit and jewelry pairing suggestions.
“Boutique shopping is a lot different than shopping in big box stores,” Thompson said. “Everything is unique, and you find a lot more specialty things than just whatever everybody’s wearing from the big box.”
Thompson set up a booth at the Wellington Wheat Festival, July 12-16, and got a good response, she said. She has had several groups of customers drive up from Wellington to shop, and she continues to host private shopping parties both for Argonia residents and for people from the surrounding area.
The building will look pretty different to people who knew it in its incarnations as a restaurant and, later, as a dance studio and laundromat. The exterior has been repainted, and inside, Thompson has painted her boutique in tones of teal and turquoise and added a corrugated tin ceiling and barn-style sliding door.
Most of the remodeling has been done by her and her family, she said. Counters, and additional mirrors and signage, are still to be installed.
The boutique’s name is also a family affair.
“My grandfather owned a machine shop in Wellington called Oxwell,” Thompson said. “They used to have to register their brands (for livestock), and he wanted to do ‘OX’ for Oxwell, but that was already taken, so he turned it around.
“When I was trying to think of a name, I wanted to do something that had meaning to me,” she added. “Most people think it means ‘hugs and kisses,’ but to me it has a special meaning because it was the name of my grandfather’s ranch.”
XO Boutique is open Wednesdays and Thursdays from 2 to 7 p.m., and Fridays and Saturdays from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. It is closed Aug. 2-5.
To shop online and see photos of items, visit www.xoboutique.net. Call Thompson at 316-250-4462.