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Cearley takes on another downtown venture




Monday marked the beginning of a new chapter for a longtime downtown Hays business.

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Monday marked the beginning of a new chapter for a longtime downtown Hays business.

Tammy McClellan, who owned Simply Charmed since the boutique opened in 2003, sold the business to Sarah Cearley, who also owns Bella Luna Boutique. The two stores are just next door to each other, and offering the business to Cearley seemed a perfect fit, McClellan said, noting the two Palco natives have known each other for years.

“I remember when Sarah was in fourth grade and I was her substitute teacher,” McClellan said with a laugh. “It’s been a really nice thing. ... There’s this level of education she already has about how to take this business on and how to run it, and I really appreciate her experience and capabilities as an entrepreneur to take that on.”

The transaction had been quietly in the works since March, when McClellan approached her neighbor with the idea. That also was the day Cearley told her friend she was pregnant.

“We shared secrets that day,” McClellan said with a chuckle.

Simply Charmed, located at 1011 Main, was the first downtown business to open in a renovated storefront as part of ongoing revitalization efforts. The boutique has evolved in several ways and doubled its space during the last decade.

Initially, the store’s main offering was a create-your-own jewelry station. That part of the business came to a close two years ago, and the boutique now offers an assortment of women’s clothing, accessories and gifts, McClellan said. The store also carries three well-known brands: Vera Bradley, Brighton and Pandora.

Cearley said she will continue offering established brands but hopes to expand the boutique’s merchandise. The biggest change, Cearley said, is the boutique no longer will offer a selection of high school prom dresses.

Owning a second business is a dream come true for Cearley, who said she long has wanted to sell more women’s apparel. She offers a selection of maternity clothes at Bella Luna, 1013 Main.

“I’m definitely going to increase the women’s clothing, have a fun, contemporary boutique here in the back,” she said. “It’s just a great opportunity and just a great fit.”

Cearley will have an eventful summer. She and her husband are expecting their first child in August. But cramming a lot of changes into a little time is nothing new to Cearley, who admits she likes moving at a fast pace.

“I think I graduated in May (2010), and we opened (Bella Luna) in June,” she said. “I got married that same year, too.”

McClellan is looking forward to spending more time with family and focusing on other business ventures, such as the family farm. She will continue to help Cearley at the store through the transition.

“What I will miss is the great customers. I have fabulous staff. I’ve loved working with my vendors and made great friends,” McClellan said. “All those things were good. I would have never not done it for the last 10 years.”