Plus-sized frustration led her to open shop

Published 1:14 am Friday, April 12, 2019

Melanie Weeks’ dream will come true Saturday when she opens Helen Marie Boutique.

“About 10 years ago I toyed with the idea of maybe opening a boutique,” Weeks said. “But I didn’t think it was possible. I just didn’t think that I could do it. I thought that I had to have a degree in business or something like that so I didn’t think it was going to happen. I have just always loved fashion and clothing.”

Two years ago, Weeks said that she wore plus-sized clothing, but couldn’t find attractive clothes that fit well.

“I was having a hard time finding clothes in this area that were cute and could fit me,” she said. “I realized that we kind of lacked that type of store in this area.”

Weeks began her journey using social media, trying to open a store on the website, but found an opportunity to open an actual store.

“That is where it all started,” Weeks said. “It has been open about a month online, but I had this amazing opportunity to open the store at the Grande Salon. I wanted to find a spot with a business that was already open, so I went ahead and got my business license and started looking around. A couple of people told me about the spot in the Grande Salon and I knew the girl who’s parents owned it and we got to talking and things worked out.”

Weeks said that the people at the Grande Salon have been amazing so far.

“They are so nice and generous,” Weeks said. “It was the perfect fit. It is such a beautiful spot and they have worked with me so much.”

Three days ago, Weeks had a soft opening for the boutique and she said that the support has been overwhelming.

The boutique is not Weeks’ only gig. She works as an emergency medical technician in Florala for Haynes Ambulance Service.

“I couldn’t open this store without help,” Weeks said. “I work 24-hour shifts with two days off in between, so my family has been extra helpful lately.  My sister has helped me so much and hopefully we will start looking into hiring more help later on.”

Weeks said that the thing she is looking forward to the most about opening is being able to work with the community.

“I am so looking forward to offering more to the community of Andalusia,” Weeks said. “I’m excited to offer friendship and experience. I want to do more than just sell clothes. I want to offer an experience, because I believe that clothes can make you feel more confident about yourself. I know that when I was about 250 pounds, if I found the right outfit, I would feel amazing. I have lost 60 pounds since then, but if I feel like I look good and I have the right clothing on then I feel more confident and I feel better about myself.”

She said that the targeted age range for her clothing is around 20 to 60 years old.

“I will carry a very broad range of clothing for people of all ages,” Weeks said.

The grand opening for the Helen Marie Boutique will be this Sat., April 13, from 10 a.m., until 5 p.m.

The boutique is located at 24365 U.S. Hwy., 29, Andalusia in the Grande Salon.