A new boutique in Paducah, The Dirt Road, operates in a less-than-typical establishment: a 10,000 pound truck named Betsy.
"There's so many boutiques popping up everywhere, so we wanted to be different," owner Heather Abanatha said. "So that's why we did the truck."
Abanatha opened the mobile boutique - which sells women's clothes and accessories for $40 or less - last week. She previously worked in retail for 20 years, as store manager at Charlotte Russe for 10 years and at the Gap before that. She said she had always wanted to own her own business so she could set her own schedule and spend more time with her family.
Abanatha said there are 350 mobile boutiques in the United States, including five in Nashville, Tenn. On a trip to Nashville with husband Gary in March, Abanatha saw a mobile boutique, loved it and thought, "We've got to bring it to Paducah."
The couple bought Betsy in Nashville, and the truck was converted into a boutique, complete with a dressing room and air conditioning powered by a generator. While Betsy just hit the road in Paducah last week, Abanatha said The Dirt Road has been selling items at boutique shows since March.
In addition to clothes and accessories, The Dirt Road sells bangles that Abanatha's husband - who is also a mechanic - makes by hand. Abanatha said she has sold about 500 of the bracelets since March. The store will also offer an exclusive line of "Be Southern" T-shirts in the near future, Abanatha said.
The truck's location changes daily. It was at Headlights By Shana on Park Avenue on Wednesday and at Medical Spa Seven on James-Sanders Boulevard Thursday and will be at Freedom Fest in Murray this weekend. Abantha posts the locations on the boutique's Facebook account.
One customer who follows on Facebook is Ashley Powell - already a repeat customer - who said Abanatha advertised the business on the social media site before officially opening, and "I was counting down the days until I would get to see it."
Powell visited the truck with a few of her clerical co-workers from Baptist Health Paducah's Oncology Department Wednesday during their lunch break, and she said it provides convenience some other stores can't.
"You know, when we're at work, sometimes we can't get out to go to the mall to one of the boutiques or something out there," Powell explained. "It's nice that ... this is closer to us and we can just come over here on our lunch."
"I think it's neat," Powell added. "It's different. It's new, not something that someone else has already done."
The boutique is usually open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday through Saturday.
Truck locations can be found at https://facebook.com/thedirtroadboutique. For more information, contact Abanatha at 270-564-1890.
Contact Leanne Fuller, a Paducah Sun staff writer, at 270-575-8653.