Big things happen in a small town | Way of life

EXIRA – Tracy Paulsen loves a challenge. “Every time someone says you can’t do something, or it won’t work, it makes me want to do it even more,” she said. Maybe that’s what motivated her to start her new business: A ribbon cutting took place last week for her shop in Exira, Farmhouse Fashions. “It was tough at first,” she said, having a store in a small town is tough, but if you know your customers, she said, you can make it work.

Tracy got her start in retail working in the Valley West Mall in Des Moines – she worked there for seven years while living in Des Moines, and enjoyed retail.

“I’ve always wanted to open my own store,” she said, and about three years ago she started Farmhouse Fashions online. From there, she started traveling to attend supplier shows, which also worked. “It just got better and better every year,” she said, then stumbled across the storefront in Exira.

Since then, she said, her online business has grown – along with foot traffic – every week since she opened the store on the first weekend in November.

Farmhouse Fashions is located at 115 West Washington Street in Exira, Main Street, and is open Thursday through Sunday.

The store sells clothing, accessories and jewelry for women and juniors, as well as home decor.

“I have clothes for toddlers and girls too,” she said, noting that in January she would start working in the back room of the store where she would start selling clothes. on consignment, from toddlers to large sizes.

She recently surpassed 1,000 followers on her Facebook page and was very excited about it.

It’s not her only business – she also works part-time for the Atlantic News Telegraph and the Audubon County Advocate Journal, has been a substitute in school and sells real estate. “I work seven days a week,” she says. On top of that, she has a six-year-old son Luke who raises golden retrievers and has “not very big” dwarf goats.

Tracy gets help from Luke.

“He’s a big help. In the store, he calls himself the manager. I’m the owner, he’s the manager, and he’s always trying to get people to buy accessories and boots, that’s his specialty.

She says she enjoys working with people, it’s her favorite part, “even if they come and they don’t buy anything,” she says. “I love talking to people, I’m a social butterfly.”

Her second favorite part is shopping, and with Farmhouse Fashions she’s able to do it, “and at least now I’m making money with it,” she said. “Instead of just buying for myself, I made it into a business. “

With the consignment part of the business, she said she was going to make only children’s clothing, but heard a lot of people say that they didn’t like using the exchange, didn’t want to have to travel anything. left to take clothes they didn’t have. no need to donate or deposit. Exira didn’t have a place to take clothes like that, she said, “The closest is Atlantic, Carroll, Harlan (or a bigger city), and they don’t want to drive that far.”

She is taking advantage of the small business boom in Exira. “The Dollar Store launched it, then the Buck Snort came along,” she said.

Ribbon cuts were made for Tracy’s store on Friday, along with three other new businesses, Buck Snort Restaurant, Studio Samantha Art & Gift Shop at 111 West Washington Street, which will open in March, and The Red Barn Auto. Sales, at the old Red Barn Restaurant just off Highway 71 as you enter Exira.

“It’s amazing,” Tracy said. “I couldn’t believe it (at first),” but now she says she’s really excited about it. “I think we’re finally back on the map. After the fire (where) we lost Jerry’s and the other buildings, I think we went into a little lull there. And now I think Exira is starting to come back with a bang, because there are so many new businesses coming in.

As she puts it on her webpage, there are “big things going on in a small town! “

Farmhouse Fashions is located at 115 West Washington Street, Exira, (515) 822-2504

Closed Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday, open Thursday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

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