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The power of three: A mother and two daughters, all former local teachers, create unique boutique (and outfitter!)
by Ben Tinsley
Apr 19, 2014 | 21 views | 0 0 comments | 1 1 recommendations | email to a friend | print
River Gypsy Boutique & Outfitter (of Three Rivers) owners  Jennifer Shepherd, Jenna Hennig, and Jordie Shepherd.
River Gypsy Boutique & Outfitter (of Three Rivers) owners Jennifer Shepherd, Jenna Hennig, and Jordie Shepherd.
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By Ben Tinsley

The Progress

THREE RIVERS – It’s hard to deny the appeal the River Gypsy Boutique and Outfitter has to its growing customer base.

Responses come quickly when subjects of interest — such as the store’s new headbands — arise.

“Love them. What time do you close today?”

“Okay, great! I’m going to try and come by today. I have been wanting to go in but haven’t had a chance. What do these run?”

“Oh I want one!”

The three local entrepreneurs who started the store, Jordie Shepherd, Jenna Hennig and Jennifer Shepherd, are a mother and her two daughters, all former school teachers.

The mother, Jennifer Shepherd, taught first grade and third grade for 23 years. Jordie Shepherd, 28, a former Beeville teacher who taught pre-kindergarten for two years and Kindergarten for one year, said she always dreamed of opening up her own business.

“I had tossed around some ideas with the family about opening a business, a boutique, but I wanted to do something different,” she said. “As a family we are really close and I kept talking to Mama and Jenna about starting it together.”

After consulting with some cousins who are also merchants in the area, the three decided to give the business a go.

“So it was the three of us — me, my sister and my mother, and we were here all summer and had a long time to think about it,” Jordie said. “We started looking at property and I just knew everything would fall into place. We found one that was for sale and we resigned our teacher jobs and it became really real, really fast.”

Bearing in mind that any kind of commerce is a gamble when it comes to establishing a loyal customer base, Jordie said the enthusiastic response so far has been very encouraging.

“Our Oct. 12 grand opening was very successful,” Jordie said,” and we continued doing well. Our most popular item is women’s clothing. Headbands are really doing well. We keep having to reorder them.”

One early conclusion the three reached was they would have to carry men’s goods in addition to women’s to stay competitive.

“We may even expand the other side the building so we can have more goods for men,” Jordie said. “A lot of men go fishing in Choke Canyon and one thing we want to do is cater to them.”

Jenna Hennig, 29, whose teaching career was in Three Rivers, taught kindergarten for three years, and third grade for one. She said it is a sobering experience to be self-employed.

“Right now we’re just learning to run our own business,” Jenna said. “This isn’t something we’ve ever done before. We’re learning what comes with it and making sure ewe take care of things directly. But people are so excited for us when they come to the shop. They tell us what a wonderful shop we have and that makes me feel really good.”

Impromptu Facebook evaluations tend to bear out that impression with public comments.

“Absolutely love the leggings sold there...they will be my go-to piece from now on! ...Great place and very nice service! LIKE!”

“One of my fav boutiques... Great service!”

“Fabulous!”

“So glad you guys are here! Such a huge selection for all ages!”

The River Gypsy Boutique and Outfitter is located at 105 Gallaher St. in Three Rivers. They can be reached at (361) 784-2819 orat rivergypsy3r@yahoo.com.Their website is http://rivergypsyboutique.com.

They are open Monday - Friday from 10 a.m. - 5:30 p.m. and on Saturdays from 9 a.m. - 3 p.m.
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