New faces on the Square; Boutique, salon open downtown
by Paige Rentz
Women looking to treat themselves have a new destination in Jacksonville.

Two new storefronts at the corner of Clinton Street Southeast and Chinabee Avenue Southeast celebrated their grand openings Friday just off the public square in Jacksonville.

At the corner storefront, La Bella Salon has been in operation since Oct. 15. Jennifer Borders, former owner of Salon Elegance, has always wanted a space on the square. The Jacksonville native saw an opportunity to finally realize this goal when she sold her former business in order to downsize.

Right next door, Amy Daley opened Swank, a women’s boutique carrying blouses, dresses, purses, shoes and other accessories. With a varied professional background including Jacksonville State University volleyball coach, school teacher, human resources and product management, Daley decided to open Swank after leaving product management to become a stay-at-home mom in April. “I got bored and wanted to do something fun,” she said.

Her store was packed Friday after the ribbon cutting, and she said she had seen pretty steady traffic since she first opened her doors on Wednesday, requiring her to bring in help she hadn’t anticipated needing. She said she also accepts orders on her website,, and has been filling orders from all over the country.

Borders, who with Bethany Tidwell is operating La Bella Tuesdays through Saturdays from 9 a.m. until 7 p.m., said they use Paul Mitchell products and do hair and makeup and well as bridal appointments. La Bella accepts walk-ins.

Representatives from the Calhoun County Chamber of Commerce were on hand with ribbon and a pair of giant scissors, which Mayor Johnny Smith and Swank owner Amy Daley used to officially open the businesses Friday.

The mayor, who is a big proponent of new businesses and the revenue they bring to the city, said he hopes the new businesses do well. “Hopefully they’ll help each other,” he said.

Smith said he hopes all the ladies in town will come out and support the two new businesses in town. “I did a little shopping in there, but I didn’t really know what I was doing,” he said.

Jean Ann Oglesby, a business advocate with the Calhoun County Chamber of Commerce, said Friday’s event showed that the city’s square is revitalizing. “Just the fact that Swank Boutique and La bella have located there speak volumes for what’s happening,” she said.

At Swank, said Oglesby, she sees a concept that she believes will work well in Jacksonville. “They’re doing a two-edged type thing, a little bit for the residents, a little bit for the campus,” she said, adding that this way business won’t dry up when students aren’t in town.

“Obviously great things are happening,” agreed Linda Hearn, manager of the County Chamber.

“They’ve got a great location, great market there with JSU and city and a lot of great things are happening.

Hearn said the Chamber has grown substantially in the last few months of this year. “People are having positive results.”
© 2012