September 24, 2023

OLIVE ‘ET EXPANSION: Downtown boutique gives customers more room to shop

Newton retailer adds dressing rooms, more space for shoe line

Vicki Wade knew she wanted to expand Olive ‘et Boutique before she even opened the downtown Newton retail store in 2017. Four years later, it was time.

“My husband and I, when we designed this space, we actually put in temporary walls,” Wade said inside the new expansion, which opened up the north side of the store. “So it was always the intention to expand. Sometimes it’s a matter of, hey, I need more room for this product line or need more room for that.”

For Olive ‘et, it was its growing line of shoes. But Wade didn’t want to just add more shelves, she took customer feedback into account. Frequent visitors wanted dressing rooms to try on clothes and a place to sit while fitting into a pair of ankle boots, flats or sandals. Plus, more space means more types of products.

“In a small town, we want to make sure that as many customers are served as possible,” Wade said. “Like infant pieces, for instance. I would have lots of ladies coming in, ‘I love what you carry. Will you carry infant clothes?’ So the expansion allows us to broaden the product line.”

Wade had always wanted Olive ‘et Boutique to have nice dressing rooms, too. Having that customer support and response certainly helped when making the final decision to go forward with the design. Wade added a small seating area for shoe fitting and also allow for guests to wait while others use the dressing rooms.

Customers can’t miss the new area, which is emphasized by a floral mural.

When the COVID-19 pandemic shutdown businesses, Wade took it as a time to evaluate Olive ‘et Boutique and how it could best serve customers. Wade and her husband, Shawn, worked on the Olive ‘et Boutique space, the basement of the building it resides in and the upstairs apartment.

“It was an ideal time to do that work because many of the businesses were closed and we could basically throw things out the window and into the dumpster and clear things out without bothering other businesses,” Wade said. “It was definitely time to do something like this.”

To celebrate the store’s grand expansion, Wade held a multi-day event allowing customers to participate in raffles and earn free swag, gift cards and other prizes, all the while sipping on samples of wine and eating snacks from goodie bags. Wade streamed the raffle drawing on Facebook Live.

“We try to have really fun events to draw people in,” Wade said.

Recently, more businesses have been are either entering into the fray or expanding their downtown stores. Wade says it’s not by accident or chance.

“A lot of the businesses downtown are working with their connections in other communities and say, ‘If you’re going to expand and open a second location or a third location, you need to come to Newton,’” Wade said. “A lot of the new business that’s happening is a matter of connecting with others.

When incoming businesses see other business owners’ excitement and their customers’ excitement, Wade said they realize they want to be apart of this. Many of these new businesses are looking for small town atmospheres with frequent customer bases and loyalty programs in place, she added.

“In Destination Downtown Newton we always say we’re like ‘Cheers,’ where everyone knows your name,” Wade said. “And it really is true. Most of the people I know by first name. And if we don’t know their name we’re asking.”

Contact Christopher Braunschweig at 641-792-3121 ext. 6560 or

Christopher Braunschweig

Christopher Braunschweig

Christopher Braunschweig has a strong passion for community journalism and covers city council, school board, politics and general news in Newton, Iowa and Jasper County.