VALDESE — Downtown Valdese’s newest business has certainly lived up to its name.
Blessed Mama Plus Size Boutique, which started out of a closet, has been blessed by a loyal customer base that has allowed it to grow to the point where the shop has moved into a brick-and-mortar storefront right on Main Street.
The boutique, owned by Ashley Haas, has consignment and boutique items. On the consignment side, Blessed Mama accepts gently used items sizes large up to 6X or larger. On the boutique side, the business strives to keep its prices reasonable, with most items of the same sizes selling for $40 or less. The shop offers jewelry and accessories as well.
The store will celebrate with a ribbon-cutting ceremony from 2:30-3:30 p.m. Thursday.
“It’s just been a blessing, I’ll tell you,” Haas said. “We actually started a little over a year ago in my bedroom. I literally just quit my corporate job and placed everything in God’s hands. I needed to clean out my closet and make money to make ends meet, so I said, ‘Let’s just do it this way.’
“So, I started in my bedroom with one rack and we quickly, quickly grew on the consignment side. People would just hear about it, and we went from my bedroom to a little building on my property. We’re here in Valdese now because we just quickly outgrew that.”
Most of Blessed Mama’s sales are online, aided by an active Facebook page that also conducts live videos every Thursday. But when customers would come to pick up their purchases in person, it became a time of what Haas described as “fellowship.” That’s why the new store has couches and spaces to hang out comfortably.
“It’s a blessing to make money, of course, but we are a community of ladies,” Haas said. “We’ve had people from California, New York and Texas. We’re here to encourage each other, and we love each other. We build self-confidence. That’s something that we really strive to do.
“I struggle with that a lot. Now, I’m able to bless other ladies, because we are a plus-size business.”
Adding to that comfort level, Fernanda’s Sweets and Cakes will have a bakery stand inside the store. It will maintain fresh-baked goods and coffee for customers to enjoy while they shop.
The comforts of a new home in Valdese already are apparent to Haas, and they seem to be drawing in customers as well, before the new storefront business even is off the ground and running.
“I love the town itself,” Haas said. “I was searching and searching, and really didn’t know if I wanted to make the plunge yet of going storefront. But when we found this place, it was a great price. It was just really meant to be.
“We haven’t even officially grand-opened yet. We’re open two days a week. Every time that I’m here and the lights are on, I’m having people try to come in already. So, this is going to be a great location. Valdese is growing very fast, and they have really nice businesses down here. We have a store next door that helps advertise because they’re a kids’ store and we’re a mom-shopping store. I’m very excited to be in downtown Valdese.”
Starting this week, the store at 100 Main St. W. will be open Thursdays from 2-6 p.m., Fridays from 3-7 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
“The reason we’re only opening three days a week is because we do so much online,” Haas said. “And the whole reason I did this and left the corporate world is so I can be at home with my kids. My kids are my first priority. Family is my first priority.
“Even though this has become one big family for us, I still want to focus on being at home. But I want to give people a chance to come in and shop in the store, as well as online.”
The first glance for most will come during Thursday’s ribbon-cutting and grand opening. The store will offer a 10 percent-off sale and baked goods from Fernanda’s, and door prizes will be available for shoppers to win.
“It is a dream come true, let me tell you,” Haas said. “I really feel like I just cannot believe this is happening to little ol’ me. Life has thrown its curveballs at me, but I’ve held my faith. I’ve prayed about it, and this is just an absolute blessing. It’s mind-blowing that it’s a reality.
“It’s a true blessing, and I’m just excited to share it. I have been blessed in my life, and I truly believe this is my calling. God has blessed me, and this business is just a platform for him to use me and share his word.”
For folks who want to check out the business before the grand opening or who won’t be able to attend, check out the store’s Facebook page at facebook.com/blessedmamaplussizeboutique.