ROCHESTER, MN (FOX 47) --Who doesn't love a good deal? And who could pass it up if it was made by a friend or a loved one. Well, that's exactly what you'll find at the barnyard boutique. When one drives 19 miles southeast of Rochester, you are soon met by a black sign with green font. This signals that you have arrived at the summertime “Barnyard Boutique.” Although a boutique may seem out of place in the country, the people who run it and live there say they couldn't have found a better place to set up home and shop.
Paula Deroaun, who owns the boutique, says the idea evolved out of something rather simple.“My husband had paid the expense up of putting a new roof on the barn and then we were going to put a new floor in and we got it installed. Then, one day I realized that we had an event coming up soon and I said: "You know what, you gotta get this done because we're having a barn dance in two weeks. And so, we hired a band and we had a potluck, a pig roast and we had a barn dance. And so ever since that, we've had more stuff going on,” explained Deroaun. “One of my friends has asked: 'Hey, what if we did a boutique in your barn?' So, we talked about it and that's all it took. We just got some brainstorming done and she had some good contacts, I had some good contacts and it just worked out,” Deroaun said.
Although it only runs during the Labor Day Holiday, it seems as though it has a positive future, as multiple vendors take part every year. “It started four years ago. I actually have all the vendors drop things off and I do the set-up on my own. I kind of figure out where I want stuff and how I want to put it out. I just do it on my own. I like doing that.”
Paula says that one of the things that makes her boutique so unique is that the majority of the items she displays, are original, homemade articles. “Most of the things are handmade. There are a few things that are not. A lot of them are local vendors. There's some from Eyota, St. Charles, Dover, Rochester, Winona. Here, it's mostly all vendors from the surrounding communities, which I think is really great.
One does seem to find all kinds of bits and bobs when walking through the boutique and even some items that make one wonder how hungry they are. “The most unique thing we have here is bacon soap. And it smells just like you're washing with bacon,” Deroaun said.
Deroaun is originally from “the city.” So, that begs the question: "Why the country life?"“We have lots of space and we love having animals. It's just good to be living in the country. We raise our own chickens. We have our own eggs, we have our own goats milk, we have our own beef, we have our own pigs when we need them. We love it. It's great,” said Deroaun.
So, why ought people come to the barnyard boutique? “People should come for all of the great items that we have to sell. We have things like homemade Lefse, homemade pickles, jams in addition to all the unique things the crafters have made. They are just very talented. There are lots of fun things to see and lots of fun things to buy. And I'm here too,” Deroaun said laughing.