BY CHUCK VANDENBERG
FORT MADISON – Serena Vincent is a cancer survivor, and now owns a business that indirectly was born out of the changes cancer brought to her life.
After being diagnosed with cervical cancer in 2019, Vincent had surgery in January of 2020 and then began radiation treatment and chemotherapy. During the time away from her job, and because of the impact of the disease on her life, she didn’t return to her job and decided to follow her passion.
Now the daughter of a railroad worker owns her own boutique, Serena Lynne Boutique in the former Lampe Drug building at 731 Avenue G in downtown Fort Madison.
The shop is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, and from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday.
Vincent said she’s also open to after-hours shopping parties for those who want to have the store to themselves and can’t get there during regular business hours. She’s even sweetening the deal by offering the host of the parties $5 off for every $100 the party spends in the store.
Vincent moved to the area in 1990 when her father was transferred to the area with the BNSF rail line. She grew up in West Point and lived there until she graduated high school and then moved to Fort Madison.
As a child she was always playing dress up and enjoyed fashion. Vincent even tried to make a career out of it by becoming a cosmetologist.
Before opening the retail store front downtown, Vincent was doing online sales out of her home.
“I really enjoyed doing the online sales, but the only bad part was that my inventory started taking over the house and my husband was like, “you’re taking over my man cave,” she said with a laugh.
“Then I started having to store stuff in our garage, too. So I decided at that point that I should start looking for a new place.”
Serena and her husband looked at renting or leasing downtown, but instead decided to purchase the Lampe building. Now they plan to renovate the upstairs, sell their current home and move into the downtown building.
She said she never imagined she would have her own business, but having to leave her other job made her realize that she could put her foot forward and do something on her own.
“Life is too short sometimes, you know. Do what you enjoy and be happy. Everything happens for a reason and I’m hear today doing this because this is the path I’m supposed to be on.”
Vincent has been open since Monday and she’s holding a grand opening Saturday during normal business hours.
Those looking to have an after-hour shopping party can do so by contact Vincent over her Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/serenavincent10 or by text at 319-371-8320.
Her inventory includes women’s fashion clothing with sizes up to 3X and she’s looking to add men’s clothing at some point. She’s also thinking about having local wines for sale if she can obtain a liquor permit.