Columbus native wants people to shop local

November 17, 2018

From basement to storefront, the owner of Steele Jayde Boutique is making a keen effort to keep shoppers in the community.

“For women, you’re always looking for something that somebody doesn’t have,” Columbus native Sawyer Dion said.

Dion said residents oftentimes underestimate local shopping options. They will instead travel to nearby areas like Norfolk, Omaha and Lincoln to shop, she said.

Because of this, Dion hopes to break the stigma by opening her own boutique. Steele Jayde – named after the middle names of Dion’s son and daughter – will be celebrating its grand opening on Nov. 24 in conjunction with Small Business Saturday at 3405 21st St.

“We love seeing new locally owned businesses open,” said Columbus Area Chamber President K.C. Belitz, noting it’s becoming a growing trend within the community.

Belitz said when people are shopping for items -- from clothing to food, they are drawn to variety. Because of that, he said it’s good to have more new businesses in town offering these options.

Belitz said the expansion of local selections can help residents evaluate the quality of life in their communities. He noted it not only helps retain community members but also draws people from surrounding areas.

Since 2014, Dion ran her business part-time inside the basement of her home as she transitioned from working at a local bank to running a photography agency to being a full-time mother.

As her clientele grew, Dion said she was ready to turn her passion for fashion and retail into a full-time gig. Her boutique carries items like jeans, blouses, bracelets, graphic t-shirts, leggings, cardigans, shoes and jewelry.

Despite having no prior experience in retail, the mother of three also conducted most of her business online with more than 33,000 followers on Facebook.

Dion has customers purchasing items nationwide from places like Texas, Oklahoma, New York and Hawaii. She said she ships thousands of orders monthly.

“I’ve always had that entrepreneurial drive,” said Dion, who noted her entrepreneurial prowess began when she was a student at Columbus Middle School.

With the additional space, Dion plans to expand her collection by including products distributed by local vendors, household items and children’s clothing.

“Just something to switch it up,” Dion said. “More than your typical boutique items.”

Dion said it’s heartbreaking to see mom-and-pop stores closing their doors because of the growth of corporate companies. Dion said it’s important for community members to support local businesses because they make up a portion of a community’s identity.

As a businesswoman, Dion said she strives to be a good role model to her children and area youth. She hopes to inspire more females to be entrepreneurs.

“I think it’s important that Columbus supports Columbus, especially a woman business owner,” Dion said. “And I think it’s a good message.”

Natasya Ong is a reporter for The Columbus Telegram. Reach her via email at natasya.ong@lee.net.

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