On Nov. 3, 2019, Tricia Shyver opened a store and started a movement.
The store is Naturaleigh Baby Boutique & Toy Shoppe, 2410 New Hartford Road.
The movement is Naturaleigh Village, an online community of the store’s customers and fans, who have became a family, Shyver said last week.
A year ago, she said the store was her attempt to turn lemons into lemonade.
On June 26, 2019, her 19-year-old cousin, Kaytlin Leigh Morgan, was killed in a traffic accident.
And 11 days later, her 28-year-old husband, Nate Shyver, also died in a traffic accident.
The store is named for both.
“It’s been a rough year,” Shyver said then.
Things got worse after that.
She battled electrical and water issues in the early weeks of the store’s opening.
The coronavirus pandemic hit four months later.
And Shyver’s mother was diagnosed with lung cancer.
“I had to shut down for a month because of COVID,” she said. “For a couple of months, my business was online only. But I made it through a global pandemic and all the rest. And I’m still smiling.”
Shyver said, “I’ve sold $10,000 in merchandise every month since I was able to reopen. I’ve shipped to Michigan, Florida and Texas. My customers come in from Evansville, Henderson, Greenville, Central City, Bowling Green, Leitchfield. They get a family here.”
Her customers have formed a social media group — Naturaleigh Village.
“It takes a village to raise a child,” Shyver said.
The Villagers interact with her and each other online.
“They get treated like family,” Shyver said. “One of them didn’t get all her bows in her order and I drove them by her apartment on my way home because I know where she lives. And she’s not the only one.”
In return, she said, “They know I like Dr Pepper and they bring me Dr Peppers. There’s a real sense of community here.”
Several customer’s kids call her “Auntie Tricia,” she said.
On her store’s first anniversary, Shyver said, her customers bought her a Bissel CrossWave vacuum.
“They know I’m a widow with two small kids,” she said.
One of them drove to Cincinnati to pick it up.
“The parking lot was full that day and some were in tents,” Shyver said. “I had about 150 things to give away that day.”
The Villagers had met each other online and “that day, many of them were meeting in person for the first time. “
It was an emotional day, Shyver said, “I teared up. I didn’t cry. No tears fell, but I got emotional.”
She has a 3-year-old daughter and a son who’s about to turn 5.
So, Shyver knows what her customers want.
“Wooden toys are big this year,” she said. “So are chlorine-free diapers and Tiny Human products.”
Shyver said she’s expected a shipment of anatomically correct baby dolls from France.
At 28, she’s an entrepreneur who’s making big plans for the post-COVID world.
“I bought the Happy Heiny brand of cloth diapers,” Shyver said. “The equipment is in California now, but I’m getting it moved here. I also make my own line of wooden toys. I want to use as much local help as I can. I try to keep money in the community.”
She said, “We’re hanging in there. I’m doing better now than before the pandemic.”
Shyver started working at Holiday World when she was 16.
Later, she worked at Pizza by the Guy, Game Stop and Hobby Lobby.
Then, Shyver was a stay-at-home mom for a few years.
All of those gave her the training she needed for her new business, she said.
Store hours are 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
Keith Lawrence, 270-691-7301, email@example.com