BUSHNELL — When Christen Osborne became unhappy with her college career, she followed her dream and decided to start a new career.
The 21-year-old decided to put her education on hold and become an entrepreneur. She came back to her home in Bushnell and opened her own boutique.
“This has always been a dream of mine,” the lifelong Bushnell resident said. “I was going to wait to do it until after I graduated from college, but I just thought, why not? The opportunity is right here, the door is open, so I am going to go for it.”
Wildest Dreams Boutique opened a week ago at 470 E. Main St. Osborne shares the space with her aunt and uncle who own the property and also sell home decor inside.
After Osborne had earned her associate’s degree in agricultural business, she had transferred to a university but wasn’t happy there and decided to take a semester off. She initially thought about creating her business online but her relatives invited her to set up shop in their existing store.
“My aunt and uncle own this store, but they had it closed down for about a year and a half, two years, and they wanted to reopen,” she said. “And they said, ‘Let’s go half and half.’ And so that’s how this all came about.”
Osborne’s boutique sells trendy women’s clothing, small through large, and T-shirts as large as triple extra-large. She also sells accessories including earrings, bracelets, necklaces, sunglasses and eventually would like to add a plus-size line of clothing. She also wants to add shoes and by the end of the year add children’s clothing.
“We have a lot of moms in this town, and they don’t like to travel far to shop for clothing for their kids,” she said. “So we want to have a little section for the kiddos, so they can come in and shop, too.”
She still plans to create a website, soon, and get enough inventory to sell online.
“I’m hoping within a month or so I can build a website,” she said. “I have a lot of people who aren’t from this area, and I’ve had a lot of people who are out of the state who have been messaging me asking me if I have a website. I hate having to tell them ‘no,’ but I hope within the next month or so to start building a website.”
Osborne said she went into business to serve an underserved market in her hometown. She said there had been another boutique in town, but that has since closed.
“There really wasn’t anything around here,” she said. “There’s not many places to shop around here. Otherwise, you have to drive far. I’ve had a lot of good feedback from people saying this is something that we really needed in town, which is really good to hear.”
Osborne’s vision for Wildest Dreams is to drive economic redevelopment and attract new small business to her hometown.
“I honestly started this to try and inspire people to get creative,” she said. “There’s a lot of people in town who do small little things, and I’m trying to inspire them to branch out and start selling their products, too. I would really like to revive our little square we have here in town, and I know there’s a lot of people in Carthage who have been doing that. I have a friend who owns the boutique there in town and they’ve really revived their little square. They have so many businesses opening up in that area, and I really hope that I can inspire people to start doing that here, too.”

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