After learning that one of her favorite shops was up for sale, Noelle Wittkop made her biggest purchase so far — she bought the whole store.
Wittkop had known the previous owner of PurseNality of Marion, Kate Ungs, since high school. As the two friends were talking one day, Ungs mentioned that she was considering selling the handbag and accessory store to spend more time at home.
Although Wittkop, then a marketing consultant, had no retail experience, Ungs’s comment caught her attention.
“I shopped here for many years and knew it was a great business,” Wittkop said. “So when the opportunity presented itself, it made sense to take it.”
Wittkop took over the business on July 1 and almost immediately made a radical change.
“The store used to be open every other weekend. Now we are open six days a week,” she said.
Beyond the significantly expanded hours, Wittkop said PurseNality remains much the same as the shop she frequented as a customer.
“I love purses first of all. That is going to stay the main focus of the store,” she said.
She has expanded the store’s merchandise to add new lines of sunglasses, jewelry and hair accessories, with a focus on Iowa-made products. She also is working to revamp the store’s website and has plans to launch an online store sometime in early 2014.
Wittkop also has become actively involved with the Uptown Marion District organization and now serves on its board of directors. She said the organization’s special events and other marketing initiatives have helped raise awareness of her business and draw new customers.
“It’s a really cool organization with a lot of motivated business owners who are working together toward a common goal of making Uptown Marion a better place to live and shop,” Wittkop explained. “It’s such an exciting time to be a business owner and be part of Uptown Marion.”
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