Moon Dancer Boutique’s story begins with its owner, Julie Vonachen, and an impulse.
“When I first opened, it was not like a store like it is now,” Vonachen said. “I walked into the store [next to Rhythm Kitchen] … and thought, ‘I’m gonna open a shop.’ And about 10 days later, I had a lease. It was a complete impulse.”
In 1998, Julie began selling home decor, repping businesses from different backgrounds. But in the early 2000s, Julie came upon the International New Age Trade show in Denver. With gurus, yogis, crystals and energy surrounding her, it was unlike anything she’d ever seen.
“Spirituality was far and few between,” Vonachen said. “I decided when I was there that I was gonna order some stuff like that and was gonna let my intuition guide me. It was a whole different vibe.”
With the emergence of spirituality, Vonachen decided to take a crack at it. However, at her Riverfront location, the city started charging for parking and business dried up. She decided it was time to move to a new location in Peoria Heights.
Five years later, a new art co-op became available at the Grand Prairie Mall, so Vonachen decided to move once again. Her new location set the stage for her passion for spirituality to take off. Unfortunately, as a small business owner, she reached yet another mountain to climb.
“We maintained there, but 11-hour days seven days a week got real hard,” Vonachen said. “I couldn’t get ahead money-wise and they tried to raise the rent. You think you know it all, but you don’t. We went through some years in the economy where I was the only one working because I couldn’t afford the help.”
Once again, it was time to migrate. This time, it would be their current location on 933 N Sheridan Road.
Moon Dancer Boutique attracts people of all ages and spiritual journeys. The store sells primarily Bohemian wares, such as incense of over 100 scents, books, intentionally-set candles (candles that are used for specific occasions, such as meditation or healing) along with crystals,tie-dye clothing and jewelry.
“I’m a little on the artistic side, so I make jewelry and clothing,” Vonachen said. “I also make fairy costumes for children; I love the fairy thing. We combine the magical and the mystical with the spiritual.”
Vonachen said that she likes to maintain a positive energy in the store. In stock are Christian-based items, Buddhist-based items and Wiccan items as well. Not only do the products attract customers, but the pure energy attracts new employees as well.
“I love working here just because of the amount of energy that’s in here,” Kaitlin Brew, an employee of the store, said. “There’s a lot of healing that goes on here. People come here looking for a better outlook on life and that’s what they leave with.”
Tammy Schaefer, an intuitive life coach who guides Vonachen, has provided a backbone to the business.
“She does it all; I don’t know what we’d do without her,” Vonachen said.
Despite her obstacles and uncontrollable challenges, Vonachen kept her positive attitude. Her record sales last year and during the first few months at the start of COVID-19 was also something that could keep her spirits up.
To venture on the other side of life with Vonachen, check out Moon Dancer Boutique. The store is open noon to 4 p.m. Sundays and Mondays, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays and noon to 6 p.m. Wednesdays. They are also available on Facebook and Instagram.