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Tiffani Wurster loves a bargain. And not just for herself.
As the new owner of Puddle Jumpers Children's Consignment Boutique in Marion, she's helping ensure local parents are able to find a great deal when it comes to shopping for their children.
Wurster is the third owner of Puddle Jumpers, opened in 1993, and has been shopping at the store since becoming a mom 11 years ago.
'I would stay in the front room when the checkout was there and, as they were ringing me up, I'd always say, ‘It would be so fun to own this someday.'”
That someday is now.
'I was driving by earlier this year and I about drove off the road when I saw the for-sale sign,” Wurster recalled. 'It took me about a week before I worked up the courage to call because I didn't want to be devastated if someone else had bought it.”
Wurster officially has been on the job for about a month.
'I've always wanted to own my own business, but I didn't want to start a business,” she said. 'This is so ideal.
'I have some retail, banking and real estate experience. So I feel like I have these random bits and pieces of experience coming together to make it a great fit for this job.”
Long a fan of thrifty shopping, Wurster said she's excited about the store's potential.
'We have new things coming out all the time,” she said she prepped for the store's fall-preview event this past week.
As she's new on the job, Wurster is spending a lot of time in the back office processing and pricing the consignment pieces that come in.
'I do periodically pop out into the store to see how things are looking. Once we get caught up on pricing items, I'm hoping to be more 50-50 with office work and being on the sales floor,” she said.
Although many people drive by the shop - located in a small house just as you enter Marion from Cedar Rapids - and assume Puddle Jumpers is day care, Wurster said the store carries clothing for infants through teens, as well as baby items and equipment, toys, books and outdoor items such as bikes, strollers and ride-on toys.
'I am most excited about being involved in Marion,” she said, noting she recently joined the Marion Chamber of Commerce and is getting involved in leadership activities. 'Honestly, if the store was in another location, I don't think I would have bought it.”
Wurster already has started putting her touch on the store, having painted one of the rooms on the second floor and with plans to paint the other spaces.
'I am really excited about transforming the store into more of a boutique feel,” she said. 'I'm giving it a face-lift on the inside and eventually on the outside.”
Wurster also wants to update branding and marketing materials as well as the Puddle Jumpers website.
'I am just enjoying giving everything a fresh look.”
She said the Puddle Jumpers staff - six other part-time employees - have been invaluable in her transition. 'They have all worked here for more than 10 years and run this place so well,” she said.
While customers may see changes to the look and layout of Puddle Jumpers, the process of consigning and shopping for clothes will remain much the same. An initial appointment is made for new consignors to sign up.
'They bring in a tote of items and they wait in the store while we go through it,” she said. 'Then we talk with them about what we took and didn't take.”
Wurster said the appointment calendar is currently booked through September.
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About the business
' Owner: Tiffani Wurster
' Business: Puddle Jumpers Children's Consignment Boutique
' Address: 260 Seventh Ave., Marion
' Phone: (319) 373-5525
' Website: facebook.com/PuddleJumpersMarion