A wild dream to open up a boutique came true for Kristie Anderson. Once she decided to launch her store, she had her location, inventory and opened her doors in three months’ time. Azalea Lane Boutique, named after her love of floral names, officially opened on May 8, 2019 in Adel.

“I was in a place in my life that I was about to become an empty nester and needed to figure out my next phase,” Anderson said. I always wanted to open a boutique and accounting was never something that I felt was my calling.”

Anderson has a BA in Accounting from the University of Northern Iowa. She worked in the accounting field for 25 years and still does some on the side.

“I love to be around people and shopping has always been one of my favorite things to do,” Anderson said. “So, when I decided I needed a career change, I thought, ‘what better thing to do than combine shopping with a job!’”

Azalea Lane Boutique is located on the corner of 7th and Main at 705 Main St. in Adel.

“It is just a short drive from the western suburbs and will be well worth the trip!” Anderson said.

The store is a block away from the downtown square and offers a variety of women’s clothing, in all sizes. There are items for teens and women of all ages. The boutique also carries shoes, jewelry, handbags, bath and body items and gifts.

“I love to chat with customers as they shop and browse, but not everyone enjoys that so I try to read the customer,” Anderson said. “I also like to help them find the perfect outfit without being pushy.”

Before the COVID-19 shutdown, her shoppers shared overwhelmingly positive feedback.

“I have some amazing customers, who shop frequently, who say they love the uniqueness of the store and the friendly environment,” she said. “I try to carry lines that other stores do not have.”

Anderson shut her doors on March 20, a few days before Gov. Kim Reynolds required it. Azalea Lane Boutique doesn’t have a website, so sales have been limited. In the past, Anderson would post items on her Facebook page. People would comment and she would set aside the items for them to purchase.

“Most of my regular customers prefer to come into the store to see and try on the merchandise prior to purchasing and are hesitant to purchase clothing online,” Anderson said.

While being shut down, Anderson knew she needed to do something to continue to make sales, so she created a store on Facebook. Customers can now buy directly from Facebook. Items can be shipped, picked up in the store, or delivered.

“I have had a lot of new customers from surrounding towns, even states, purchasing online that have never even been into the store,” Anderson said. “That has really changed my business as I haven’t done a lot of shipping in the past.”

To access Azalea Lane’s Facebook shop, go to https://www.facebook.com/Azalealaneboutique/ and click the “Shop Now” button. If there are items that are seen on regular Facebook postings, that aren’t currently in the Facebook store, just message Anderson and she will help.

“[I am] adding new items to the Facebook store and continually posting to show customers I am still here to help them get their shopping fixes while being at home,” Anderson said. “Despite the weakened economy, a lot of people are still shopping and wanting to buy clothes.”

Azalea Lane Boutique will plan to resume somewhat normal hours next week. The store has always been closed on Mondays. On Tuesday, May 19, Anderson will offer appointments only for those who do not want to be among other people. The store will be open to the public Wednesday through Friday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. These hours are subject to change as things continue to evolve.

“I will have a hand sanitizer station and I would like everyone to sanitize when they enter,” Anderson said. “Masks are optional, but encouraged.”

The clothing that is tried on will be sanitized and hung on a rack for 24 hours before returning to the store floor racks.

The Adel community has come together to help Anderson through this unprecedented time. She has been the recipient of donations from the Iconic Apparel’s Encourage Adel Campaign. Fareway also donated gift cards to business owners to help them during this time, knowing many are closed and not able to continue their normal sales.

“Many customers have purchased gift cards to ensure I am still bringing in money to help get through this time,” Anderson said. “I am so glad I chose Adel for my store as the support has been overwhelming.”

Anderson chose Adel for her boutique because she lives in Adel. She also felt the town was growing enough that it was time to have some retail businesses. Anderson feels boutiques are the trend in women’s clothing, so she thought Adel could support one.

“We have some of the best people that live here,” she said. “No one could have predicted the impact this would have on us all. I am looking forward to seeing everyone in the store again as soon as we feel safe to do so!”