KEARNEYSVILLE – At her family’s farm, Michele Pennington waved over her own clothes – a sweater with stylish heels and a cowboy hat – pointing out that not long ago, she didn’t had never had a knack for wearing chic western clothes. But times have changed as Michele and her husband Josh prepare to open the brick-and-mortar storefront for Opequon View Ranch Boutique, striving to meet the need for trendy and affordable western and agricultural clothing in the region.
The boutique is slated for its grand opening on Saturday, a showcase of a dream that quickly turned for Michele.
“I make homemade pies, like soy wax melts, and then I was like, ‘I want to get into the earrings,’” Michele said. “So I made earrings in the shape of West Virginia with charcoal from the foundry. It’s gone crazy. People were like, ‘You should open a store. We would love to come shopping. ‘”
Looking around a corner of what is now the boutique, Michele and Josh both admitted that the plan started out as a small space for her designs before exploding into the sleek boutique that she is today.
“We were talking. There’s no western nowhere (here),” Michele continued. “You have to go to Lexington, (Ky.). You have to be gone at least two or three hours to get it. decent boots There are some, but they don’t follow the trends.
“We own horses. We ride on horseback. We do trail running. We have just approached the sheep. We want good work clothes that we can trust, trendy riding clothes and just cute clothes all around.
With clothes that can serve as must-have options for the farm, great choices for showing off or riding, and stylish choices for off-peak hours, Opequon View Ranch strives to be the place to fill the void.
“With the 4-H, the FFA, the big barrel racing crowd, the horse riding crowd that is around here, no one is really meeting their needs off-line,” Josh said.
Josh and Michele’s dad did all the work to transform the building from what it once was into the posh boutique it is today, with the change in in-store storage being vast.
“At the beginning of March I had hay, tractors and implements here,” Josh said with a laugh.
Much of the materials used to create the store come from area farms as well as the foundry, as Josh and his stepfather designed and created the storefront. A number of items inside were also reused from the couple’s wedding or family gifts.
“Even the sofa and those two chairs, they’ve been in my family for generations,” Michele said. “I always thought, ‘This thing is so ugly. What am I going to do with this thing? I just thought, ‘This is the perfect piece for the store. Now I love it.
Michele pointed out that virtually everything in the store, be it her, Josh or their son, wears it, with the family making sure that quality products are available. To already feel the overwhelming support of the community, Michele is excited about the future of the Opequon View Ranch store.
“It’s just mind-blowing,” she said. “People come out of the woods just to say, ‘Hey, I like what you’re doing. It sounds very good. Keep up the good work. I’m so glad it comes here. I never thought it was going to get this big. I thought I was just going to sell pies, make earrings here and there. Then people were like, ‘Do it. We are here for you.’ I love it. I cannot thank this community enough.
“I am humiliated. I didn’t think it was going to get that big. I thought I was going to stay strictly online, sell online, make my pies and my earrings, and people were like, “We want more.” We want to support everything you do. I cannot thank everyone enough.
This support launched Michele into a world she never expected to be a part of, but one in which she enjoys every moment.
“I went to nursing school, and it’s not nursing,” she laughed. “I worked for the government, I didn’t do anything medical and I did that on the side. I love it. I love fashion. I like to buy clothes. Who doesn’t want to buy clothes for people to buy.
Saturday’s opening event will feature donated burgers and hot dogs from the Hedgesville FFA, and the Blue Horseshoe Saddlery will have its mobile unit on-site for shopping as well. Josh said the couple want to make it a family event, something they look forward to continuing in the future.
“We are looking forward to doing that in the future, trying to do things that are family oriented,” he said. “I like to entertain people, and we have this whole farm at our disposal at the moment. “
With clear excitement on her face, Michele added, “We’re excited. I can’t wait to see who shows up, what happens on Saturday and how far we go. Great food, great music, great shopping.
The Opequon View Ranch store is located at 709 Opequon Lane and will be open from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. for the grand opening on Saturday.
For more information or to shop online, visit the store’s Facebook page under the company name or visit www.opequonviewranchboutique.com.