Be unique, shop Lucky Penny. Offering a wide range of clothing and accessories. Lucky Penny is your affordable boutique located at 693 W. King Street. New arrivals daily! Check out the Lucky Penny blog at their website.
Business Spotlight: Lucky Penny on King Street is the Downtown Unique Boutique with a Bohemian Vibe
By Madison Fisler Lewis
July 15, 2014
“I think with small businesses you just have to go for it,” said Jennele Vaquera, the owner of the popular downtown boutique, Lucky Penny. “You just have to jump into it.”
For those who first encounter her, Vaquera seems like a mountain girl through and through. The store owner is heavily involved in the community and seems to fit right in with the small town charm. What you may not know is that this mountain girl started out as a coastal girl, growing up in the Outer Banks of North Carolina, and didn’t make the transition to her current home in the High Country until 2002 when she migrated up the mountain to attend college at Appalachian State University.
“I moved here from the Outer Banks, I wanted to go to school far, far away. I came here in 2002 to study apparel and textiles at ASU and I’ve been here ever since.”
Always having an eye for fashion and a flair for business, Vaquera went to work shortly after graduating from Appalachian.
“Originally I had opened up a different clothing store,” Vaquera said. “I was an employee of another company. It was an outlet store that carried brand names and catalogue items. I thought I could help her revamp her stores and open multiple college locations. Prior to my employment with that company she had 16 stores and when I arrived there were only 2. However, when the opportunity came along for me to do my own thing, I knew it was something that I wanted to do but I didn’t know it could happen that quickly! But, I went with it and I opened Lucky Penny and it has just evolved from there.”
And what Lucky Penny has evolved into is a King Street staple that keeps customers coming back year after year. Officially opening in 2007 and moving to its current location at 693 West King St. in downtown Boone in 2009, the shop is a unique boutique that offers a wide range of styles for those looking for something a little different.
“We are always looking for something different. I like prints, and color and textured fabrics.” Vaquera said. “We want our customers to find something unique. You want to get something that is different and that nobody else has. We try to be different with fun and funky items to fit any budget.”
The store has changed a lot since its humble beginnings. Originally starting out as a college spot, the store has evolved into a great place for anyone to find something special. Today, customers cover a broad spectrum including high school and college kids, moms, 30 and 40-somethings and more.
“I think over time the store kind of shaped itself into this vintage, bohemian type boutique,” Vaquera said. “Initially we were very concerned with price and I think that over time we switched our focus more to quality and customer service. Price is still something we stay reasonable on – everything in here retails under $100 – but this is not Forever 21. The quality in here is much higher and you are guaranteed to find something different.”
The staff in the boutique is kept intentionally small, so customers generally see a familiar face each time they walk in the door. Currently, there are three people on staff, and that is just how Vaquera likes it.
“I like to keep the staff small, and I like to be here as much as possible too. My employees stay until they leave Boone generally, there isn’t a high employee turnover here.”
The relaxed, comfortable vibe in the shop reflects the personality of the town that has been so kind to Vaquera and owners of small businesses like Lucky Penny.
“Boone is great, Boone is just awesome,” Vaquera said with a smile.
“We have a really big following here, we have a lot of local and tourist customers that come back every single time they are in town and we know a lot of our customers personally. We are such a community here and we end up having such great relationships with our customers. They really become part of our lives and I have even seen come of my customers’ kids grow up. Some of my customers started coming here in high school and now they are graduating college and getting married. It is great to be so involved in the community and to be a part of something so big. Boone is a very special place to be a business owner. I’m sure you can find community wherever you are but Boone is definitely a special place.”
Lucky Penny boasts its own special atmosphere that is easily recognizable as soon as a customer steps inside. The vibe is very laid back yet helpful and the shopping experience in the boutique is just that – an experience.
“People really enjoy the atmosphere here and our customers know that they are getting an experience when they come in. A lot of people come in that need us to help pick things out for them and put outfits together and we just love doing that,” Vaquera said. “We want people to really enjoy this space and enjoy their experience. We see people try things on every day so we know how things fit, if things are running big or small. We can help anyone find something that will look great on them, and there are a lot of things here that you really have to try on to do it justice. We give a personal experience, and people really like that.”
As a small business owner in the High Country, Vaquera has a lot to be proud of.
“I am most proud of the fact that we started in the middle of the recession. It was a really rough time for everyone, and we just made a go of it and I feel like we have definitely become a staple here. I hope it continues to be that way.”
For aspiring small business owners, Vaquera has some sound advice.
“Travel before you do anything and make sure you want to be somewhere long-term before you open a business. Also, remember that nothing has to be forever. In the beginning when we first started, I was here every day. I had just finished college and I spent all my time here at the shop trying to get it off the ground. You have to be willing to work hard and do your time.”
As Vaquera continues to do her time in the boutique, she always makes sure to give back to the community that has given her so much by way of fulfilling her dreams.
“With the store, we do lots of donations and anything we can do with charity fashion shows, that is really our angle. We do a lot of stuff as a lot of the other businesses on King Street do. Anything that is community based we try to help with as much as possible. This community gives to us, and we want to give back to the community. That keeps it going full circle.”
Lucky Penny is known for being a hip, bohemian boutique where customers can find something unique. From clothes and shoes to jewelry and accessories, Lucky Penny has something a little offbeat for everyone.
“We definitely stick to a lot of young, contemporary L.A. companies when we buy our clothes. One thing about our store is that we are not brand oriented. That is where these cool young contemporary companies come into play. We appeal to customers who have their own look.”
As for the future, Vaquera has high hopes to expand. If customers are looking for a glimpse at what Lucky Penny has to offer, stop on by the boutique and let the staff help you find your next favorite piece.
“We do InstaGram and Facebook to show our customers what we have, but we love customers to just come into the shop and see us.”
So if you’re looking for something a little different to complete a look, or for a whole new wardrobe to enjoy, let the girls at Lucky Penny find just what you need. What you find just might surprise you.