WASHINGTON — Owning a business has been a lifelong dream for Melanie James. It all became a reality on June 27 when she opened the doors to her new store, Emporium.
Located directly across from the courthouse, the shop at 221 W. Main St. offers a variety of essential oils, handmade goods and loose leaf tea. Originally from Indianola, James moved to the Washington area when her parents did.
Having never owned her own store before, James said she felt the time was right to open one in Washington and fill it with things she loves. Not being able to find certain products inspired her to open the store and provide goods that are not readily available in town, she said.
“Since I have been passionate about essential oils for a while I thought it would be nice to have a place here where people could buy them,” she said.
James first got interested in essential oils after getting curious about the ingredients in perfumes. Once she established what scents she liked, she began researching how to get them herself organically.
“I’m allergic to a lot of medications, so that lead me to looking at what is natural and what the earth provides,” she said.
That has lead James to not only selling oils herself but creating custom blends to cater for each customer. Bath salts and face masks can be customized to the client’s needs. Candles are coming soon, she said, and also will be able to be customized.
Looking to the future, James said she hopes to grow her business and let it become a place others can grow as well. Artists, musicians and those who create handmade things are all welcome in her shop.
“I really want to support people who make things,” she said. “Since I have a lot of interests, I am trying to put them into something that makes sense.”
James said she hopes bringing in new vendors and creating a place for people to display what they are passionate about brings the community together and provides a place for new discussions to begin.
“Even if you don’t think you’re a creative person, think about what you like and what you can make work, and make that. It helps you grow as a person just by experiencing those things,” she said.
Emporium is located at 221 W. Main St. and can be reached by calling: 319-259-9244. The shop is closed on Sundays, but hours are as follows:
Monday: 11 a.m. until 5 p.m.
Tuesday and Wednesday: 10 a.m. until 6 p.m.
Thursday: 10 a.m. until 7 p.m.
Friday: 10 a.m. until 6 p.m.
Saturday: 10 a.m. until 5 p.m.