Follow that cute black trailer with the purple striped logos down the road, because it’s sure to be on the way to a fun event or festival.
Chasing Squirrels Boutique, owned by June Wood, is a mobile and online boutique selling fun and trendy women’s clothing and accessories. During the spring and summer the shop travels to where shoppers are, and during cold weather merchandise is available through its website.
June Wood’s interest in fashion began in 1978 when her family moved from Auburn to Wolcottville. Her mom wanted to find a job and her dad teasingly doubted that she could. As a result, her parents started a retail store, Wible’s Ladies Apparel, in the old Wible’s department store that had operated from 1948 to 1977.
“Wible’s Ladies Apparel was very successful,” Wood says. “My mom and dad had it for almost 25 years until Walmart and other big-box stores came into the area. I was an only child and I’d go with my mom on buying trips for the merchandise in the store. I remember going to Hall’s Guest House in Fort Wayne where salesmen set up displays in hotel rooms. Sometimes we would go to market in Chicago. I’d walk to the store after school. It was open from when I was in third grade until I was 23 years old, before it went out of business.”
When Wood’s parents shut the store and moved to their lake cottage full time, she thought about taking it over, but she had two small children at the time and was too busy. Sixteen years ago, while living in LaGrange, she opened June’s Ladies Apparel. After taking over a floral shop, she named her business Pants to Plants. Eventually it became June’s Floral and later the Corner Flower Shop.
“The floral business did really well but the clothing part didn’t work out,” Wood says. “During the time that shop was open, I moved back to Wolcottville. After a few years we closed the store. I had always wanted to do trunk shows where I would hold an event in someone’s home or a retail location. I looked into some companies, and to start up with them required $6,000 to $9,000 up front. It wasn’t going to work. Then about a year ago, we found a trailer for sale.”
Following pandemic rules, Wood started Chasing Squirrels. After launching a website for online sales and a Facebook page, she began taking the trailer to Shipshewana on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. During the warm months, she and her husband John traveled to events and festivals such as the Hippie Living Fair in Angola, as well as Michigan and Missouri.
Future plans involve attending venues as far away as the Farmhouse Living Fair near Nashville, Tennessee. Closer to home, the shop’s trailer will be at LaGrange, Middlebury, and The Barns, formerly Amish Acres, in Nappanee. Dates for events are listed on the Chasing Squirrels Facebook page.
Wood’s family is involved in the business. Her daughters Madison Bateman, Alexis Grossman, Maci Prill, and daughter-in-law Lindsey Prill, are models for her Facebook photos and on the website. Although shipping is available for a flat $5 rate, Wood’s husband takes local orders to work and then her son Jaxon delivers them around Bremen. Wood drops off orders in LaGrange County and the Kendallville area, going as far as Angola and Avilla.
Jeans are $34 to $54, and sweaters are $30 to $40. Unique bib overalls run $72. Slip dresses with lace at the bottom, and flowing smock dresses, are big sellers and range from $25 to $46. Other popular items include graphic T-shirts, skorts and western wear.
“Although we travel, I like to support local,” Wood says. “I get tees from Bremen company Studio 574, owned by Amber Reed. Local Lovin Life Creations makes wine tumblers that I use for giveaways. In addition, I sponsored a hole for a golf tournament that benefited our local high school football team.”
“We are continuing to develop our online store and hope to carry children’s clothing for ‘tiny squirrels’ in the future,” Wood continues. “The business is named Chasing Squirrels because I’m always looking for something to focus my attention on. I love getting out and going every weekend in the summer. People like to be able to touch the merchandise and try it on in the dressing room inside the trailer. We have met the most incredible people everywhere we go.”