A Business Owner Turns Her Dreams Into an Oasis for Southern Style and Inclusivity.

by | Apr 2024

IN SHORTY Miller’s historic building, Amy Chalker’s boutique, Chasin’ Trends Clothing Co., exudes a warmth and charm that is as much a reflection of its owner’s personality as it is a celebration of the town’s rich history. With its rustic charm and eclectic selection, Chalker’s boutique offers a refreshing departure from the ordinary. Stepping through the doors feels like entering a cherished memory where every corner holds a story waiting to be told.

Chalker’s journey to entrepreneurship was as adventurous as it was courageous. After serving her community as a nurse for 15 years, Chalker decided to chase her dream of opening a boutique. Leaving behind the stability of her nursing career was daunting, but Chalker’s passion for creating a space where everyone felt welcomed and valued was undeterred.

“I’ve always been a caretaker,” Chalker explained, reflecting on her early years. 

“But nursing changed, especially after COVID hit. I realized life is short, and I didn’t want to live with regrets.”

And so, armed with determination and a desire to make a difference, Chalker embarked on her entrepreneurial journey. She purchased the boutique in July 2023 and opened its doors on September 15 of the same year. Chalker’s boutique quickly became a place of Southern hospitality and inclusiveness within the community.

The Southern belle’s choice of location within Shorty Miller’s historic building speaks volumes about her dedication to preserving the town’s history. Refurbishing the space with barn wood, reminding her of past visits to her grandparents’s home, Chalker has created a welcoming environment that feels like stepping back into simpler times. Repurposed furniture, alongside pops of coral and turquoise colors, adds to the effect. 

“I didn’t want something new. I wanted to preserve something in this town and make it useful again,” Chalker expressed. 

The distinct personality of the boutique reflects Chalker’s commitment to authenticity and individuality. 

“I’m not cookie-cutter,” Chalker laughs. “I’m country as cornbread, and I wanted my boutique to feel like home.”

Personal mementos from her childhood and loved ones like her father, father-in-law, and husband, Mark, have found their place in the boutique, contributing to the welcoming ambiance. 

Vintage decorations and special souvenirs line the shelves, inviting customers to share in Chalker’s journey. 

In this way, Chasin’ Trends Clothing Co. has transformed into a living story where every piece has a history and a memory lies on every corner. 

The boutique’s warm ambiance proves it’s more than a pretty storefront – it’s a personalized shopping experience. Chalker carefully curates accessories, jewelry, and gifts that reflect her vision. 

She ensures her boutique offers diverse products, from locally made items to personally sourced gemstone jewelry. She proudly supports local creators, offering a platform for high school students and artisans to showcase their unique creations, adding a touch of community to the shopping experience. 

But beyond the racks of clothing and shelves of treasures, Chalker’s genuine passion for her work sets her apart. 

“I’m not just here to make sales,” she says. “I’m here to make connections and brighten someone’s day.”

Chalker’s boutique defied easy beginnings, from navigating competition to finding her niche in a town with pre-existing boutiques. Through it all, she carved her niche by offering some stylish clothing items sizes S-L and by catering to a clientele often overlooked by mainstream fashion. Fostering inclusivity, Chasin’ Trends Clothing Co. offers plus-size clothing, stocking sizes up to XXXL.

The lack of existing options fueled her fire, prompting her to expand even further, introducing a men’s collection. This boutique is an inviting oasis where bodies of all shapes and sizes find acceptance and confidence.

“I want people to feel comfortable and empowered when they walk through my doors.”

Chalker’s advice to aspiring entrepreneurs is to embrace your personal journey. 

“Don’t beat yourself up. Be true to yourself and your vision. It’s okay to be different — it’s what makes you stand out.”

Behind every dream we pursue, there’s a rock-solid support system. For Chalker, that’s her husband. 

“He is literally my rock with all this. My dreams couldn’t have come true without him in my life.”

With every stitch she sews and every smile she shares, Chasin’ Trends Clothing Co. is living proof of the power of chasing dreams and embracing the beauty of individuality. In a world seemingly dominated by conformity, Chalker’s warmth, charisma, and Southern charm shine bright, reminding us that true beauty lies in being unapologetically ourselves. GN

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