Sam Meeks opened the Bella Marie Boutique in Princeton in April 2013 as a means of providing a service to Princeton.
Seven years later, the business is thriving and providing those needs to its customers.
“We didn’t have anywhere in Princeton — or, really, anywhere around here at all — to shop, as far as boutiques,” Meeks said. “So, I just decided to do it. It was kind of like a hobby at first because I was full-time teaching, and then, it turned into a full-time job.”
Meeks taught for two years in Christian County and two years at Caldwell County, all in third, fourth and fifth grade. In 2016, she decided to leave the classroom and make a go of her boutique, and that decision has paid off.
Bella Marie — now located at 117 E. Legion Drive in Princeton — has a wide assortment of clothing and accessories.
“We have jeans, we have seasonal wear and we carry small through 3X, so we accommodate all sizes,” Meeks said. “We carry jewelry, T-shirts, shoes and, since COVID has hit, we carry masks. We also have accessories for gifts and things like that.”
When she started Bella Marie, the boutique was located behind Coleman Shoes on Main Street.
“Ronnie Coleman has a small building behind his shop,” Meeks said. “We renovated that and started there. Then, seven months later, we outgrew that and moved to our new location her on Legion.”
Meeks said she had little difficulty in starting her own business.
“I enjoyed it,” she said. “It wasn’t something that I thought was stressful. It was something that I like doing. It was a lot of hard work.”
The 2007 Caldwell County High School graduate said she doesn’t feel like she stands out as a female business owner in Princeton, mostly because her business relates to women’s clothing.
“This is a women’s market,” she said. “So, there hasn’t been a lot of competition with males. We deal with females about 99% of the time.”
Sam Meeks found a need and a niche in Princeton and worked to fill it while working as a teacher. Today, she is the owner of a unique boutique and doing well as a local business woman.