ATKINS — Located in a building on Atkins’ Main Avenue that a coffee shop had vacated some time ago, Kadi McVay’s Rambling Rose boutique is the only retail clothing store in downtown Atkins.
“We had a bank, a photo studio, a bar, the post office and that’s pretty much it,” McVay said. “It’s refreshing to hear people say, ‘I’m so glad you’re open.’ It’s nice to be able to cater to local people.”
Previously a stay-at-home mom, McVay was encouraged by her aunt, Violet Rose, to open the business.
“She was a huge influence in me starting this,” McVay said. “She bugged me for years about how the community needed something like this.”
Finally, with the youngest of her three children entering first grade, McVay moved forward with the business idea. She took possession of the space in August and added industrial shelving that she and her husband built themselves, installed barn board paneling and repurposed an old bar to use as a counter.
“I’m all about finding things that can be used for other things,” she said. The shop opened in October.
Much of Rambling Rose’s merchandise reflects McVay’s philosophy of giving new life to old things. She finds pieces at auction, through Facebook Marketplace or on Craig’s List and repurposes them in a workshop at the back of the store.
Some of her offerings include restored antique furniture pieces, vintage sheet music turned into wall art and signs made using reclaimed barn wood and tin from an old pie safe.
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McVay sources the rest of the store’s merchandise from other small businesses, with an emphasis on American- and locally made products.
“I want to support other mom-and-pop shops like me,” she said.
For example, McVay carries two lines of candles that are both produced in Benton County, bath products made in Newhall, clothing and accessories from Des Moines makers and a selection of wines from Fireside Winery in Marengo. The store also sells its own private-label coffee from Iowa Coffee Roasters in Marion.
In addition to its retail offerings, Rambling Rose hosts monthly “make and take” events, including a sold-out succulent plant event earlier this month and an upcoming essential oil bracelet event, on Feb. 22.
“They are a great social opportunity for people to make new friends in the area,” McVay said. “People can do something locally without having to drive to Cedar Rapids.”
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At a Glance
l Owner: Kadi McVay
l Business: Rambling Rose
l Address: 98 Main Ave., Atkins
l Phone: (319) 313-5565
l Facebook: ramblingroseiowa