The inspiration for Tarina Swanson to open a vintage boutique came from her daughter.
The shop, V’s Vintage Boutique, opened at 111. W. Fulton St. on June 18.
“V’s for Victoria – inspired by little Miss Victoria,” Swanson said.
Swanson’s daughter, Victoria Mendoza, died April 4. She was a junior at Waupaca High School and days before her death, attended the junior prom.
Victoria had merosin-deficient congenital muscular dystrophy, a congenital disease that confined her to a wheelchair. Her brother, Antonio, died of the same disease more than a decade ago.
“I had shops over the course of 20 years. I had several gift shops in the Waupaca area but always had to close them because of either Antonio or Victoria or both,” Swanson said. “Victoria had been out of school the last three months of 10th grade and all of 11th grade. She was on Hospice for about the last year. Victoria was really quite smart. She had her own opinions. She had said she wanted me to open a shop again.”
Swanson told her daughter that she needed to take care of her.
“We talked about the future, what I would do with a shop,” she said. “Green and purple are colors that Victoria liked, so that is why the store has those colors.”
Victoria wanted something good to happen to her mother.
“She knew I was good at creating things. She knew I liked beautiful things,” Swanson said.
The mother and daughter talked about going “green,” with Victoria telling her mother that she had a way of turning things into something else.
Swanson likes the message of reusing things and enjoys finding news uses for objects.
Her store gives others the opportunity to do just that.
It was about three weeks after Victoria passed away that Swanson began to seriously think about opening the business.
She approached Bill Barg, who owns the building in which her vintage boutique is located.
“He had quite a large inventory himself. I cleaned, inventoried and priced,” she said.
V’s Vintage Boutique has furniture, decorative glassware, prints, paintings, collectible jewelry, pottery and garden accents. Swanson is also selling ice cream, as well as T-shirts and bags that feature Victoria’s “serenity” design on them. Like her mother, Victoria enjoyed being creative.
Swanson painted the building – inside and out – and says that in the future, she hopes to incorporate items made from recycled materials and things made in the U.S.
Swanson can also help people with redesign ideas.
V’s Vintage Boutique is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.
For Swanson, losing two children has left an imprint on her. Today, she wants peace and an easier life.