Clothing, antiques and more

Catherine Wallner's new business may look like a barn from the outside, but inside is Patina Soul, a new clothing and furniture boutique located at 342 Lithia Way.

The word "Patina" means to grow more beautiful with age. Wallner says that word describes perfectly the kind of store she wants to open.

"I love old objects, not necessarily antiques but vintage things that have a history, a past," she said. "I'm really attracted to those kinds of things." In addition to women's clothing, she will sell various antiques, home furnishings — even chandeliers. Wallner gets her items from nationally recognized trade shows in Los Angeles and Seattle. She plans to attend the upcoming Las Vegas Market to complete her furniture inventory.

Wallner moved to Ashland from the Seattle area with her husband and children. For five years she focused on being a mother. But she recently grew frustrated by the lack of affordable women's ware in town, and decided to do something about it. Having run a similar boutique in Washington, she began in January to look for spaces in and around the plaza.

"I'd looked at everything in town that was available," she said. "When this building came up, I thought it was really charming."

Wallner describes Patina Soul as "a place that looks expensive but isn't." She said she wants to find a niche in the community by offering contemporary women's clothes at reasonable prices.

"Stylish clothes, cute clothes, but affordable. That's my deal," she said.

The store's main section contains clothing, jewelry and accessories, and includes two dressing rooms. Though she still has some work to do, the back room will hold the antique furniture she brings back from the road. Her second go-around as a boutique owner will come with the added challenge of parenthood.

"Trying to balance being a mom with running a business is a little tricky." But she said she has no doubt about being up to the challenge

Though Patina Soul opened for business in late July, Wallner will hold her grand opening Sept. 18.

"I'll be giving away prizes, gift certificates, that sort of thing," she said. "Plenty of fresh stock for the grand opening as well." Though it has taken some time readjusting to life as a small business owner, Wallner says the effort will be well worth it.

"I'm very excited, looking forward to the new fall styles and bringing cute clothes to Ashland."

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