Blue Moon Market brings unique shopping to downtown Joplin

Home décor, jewelry, clothing, shoes, purses and furniture are all products that can be found at the one-of-a-kind boutique Blue Moon Market.

In March 2011, the creative minds of Jeanene Eberhart, Rebecca Courtney and Teddy Steen opened a small boutique at 613 S. Main St., in Joplin, Mo.

It all started when Courtney and Eberhart had their own business, All Decked Out, where they would go to trade shows and sale events in Tulsa, Okla. Steen and Courtney went to church together, and Steen showed an interest in opening a store in downtown Joplin, as she would soon retire from working in marketing and sales management for Cable One. The three women decided to team up and open Blue Moon Market.

“It was a crazy little thing,” said Steen. “We are three strong women with strong personalities, but we work it out.”

When to store first took off, it was only open one weekend a month and every third Thursday. With the limited business hours, the three women funded all the expenses to open the store; it also helped that Courtney and Eberhart had inventory from their past business.

“Our boutique is fun to come in because you look around and you see different stuff everywhere,” said Steen. Almost everything in the store is for sale, even the display stuff. We try to create a fun atmosphere for our customers.”

At Blue Moon Market, dresses, shirts and purses can range from $20 to $60, jewelry and accessories can range from $5 to $50, and the price of home décor depends on the size of the items. Wall signs can also range from $5 to $50 as well.

Steen said the Third Thursday events created traffic and people began to love the store. When the Christmas season came around, the owners decided to stay open three days a week. Also at the time, Steen’s niece, Missouri Southern graduate Lindsay Altman, sparked the idea of opening up a store in Bentonville. In November 2011, Blue Moon Market expanded to open a second boutique in Bentonville.

The Bentonville store was open every day except for Sunday and Monday, as the Joplin store began to stay open four days a week. Both stores were successful, so they are now open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m – 6 p.m.

“We think part of the reason we were so successful is because we have all age groups,” said Steen. “All of the partners are different; Rebecca and I are similar in age, but very different in taste. Jeanene is a little bit younger and she is the creative person in our niche. So our taste varies.”

The four owners, Eberhart, Courtney, Steen and Altman make most of the decisions together. Altman has more say over her own store because she is the only owner at the Bentonville location.

With the expansion of another store and hours, the owners needed help. Blue Moon Market hired five new part-time employees to the Joplin location and three new part-time employees to the Bentonville location. The Joplin location owners are part-time, and Altman is the only full-time employee of the business.

Day-to-day decisions can be tricky.

“I think timing is one of the most difficult parts of retail if you don’t have really deep pockets, it’s all about the timing of your purchases,” said Steen. 

She said other obstacles affect the business, like balancing how much of which products to keep in stock and meeting the demands of the owners’ income and customers. Another factor that some may not think of is the weather. Being in a downtown location is more difficult for Blue Moon Market when the weather is bad, because it is not located in an indoor mall.

“I think because since we sell so many different products, we have different types of competitors,” said Steen. “They say imitation is the biggest form of flattery, and I feel like there are several stores that have imitated much of what we do, but you know what, competition keeps you sharp. Competition keeps you on your toes.”

Blue Moon Market sees other stores building downtown as beneficial because it brings more customers to the area.

“The store is different from every other boutique because it has antiques and vintage items with great prices,” said Blue Moon Market employee Abby Risner. “We have good relationships with our customers and it is a great work environment.”

Blue Moon Market offers a loyalty card which awards store credit after a certain amount is spent at the store.

“I enjoy shopping at Blue Moon Market because there are always new products in every department and the environment of the store and the workers are very welcoming,” said Blue Moon Market customer Jennie Steele, who was first introduced to the boutique during a Third Thursday event in 2012.

Blue Moon Market has created such strong relationships with customers that a new product comes in that a certain customer would like, the Staff call to tell the customer about the product.

“We have to create a customer-friendly environment, and they have to be a priority,” said Steen. “That is what we try to make them feel like when they come in, is that they are important and we do appreciate their business. They’re not just someone who comes in off the street. We want to know them.”