A passion for her community and a desire to make a difference in the lives of others fuels Judy Recknagel’s business –The Mermaid’s Tale, the quaint boutique located in Amherst, Ohio. This award-winning shop has been at its current downtown location since 1992 and is housed in a restored century-old building, formerly known as Bodman’s Grocery and Dry Goods store.As customers walk into the shop they are greeted by a colorful mermaid mural, fashioned by local artist Sally Van Nuys.
The mermaid symbol and name for the business were inspired by an image in a magazine and have stuck ever since.Recknagel became the sole-proprietor of The Mermaid’s Tale in 1994, shortly after founding the business with two friends. A Lorain County native her entire life, Recknagel says she is passionate about supporting local organizations.“Amherst – it’s a happening place. I’m just so happy to be there. I made up my mind that I wanted to make a difference. I wanted to see the store fronts here full.”A graduate of Ohio Northern University’s English program, Recknagel later also studied accounting at Baldwin College, which has helped her in the management of her business today. After working for a variety of agencies, Recknagel realized working for herself was her dream. She first went into business on her own in the late 1970s as an antique dealer.
Today The Mermaid’s Tale employs more than a dozen part-time and full-time employees – all with diverse backgrounds to match the unique clientele that frequent the shop. Clients here are teenagers to octogenarians, live locally and afar and come from all different income levels. “I have employees that are very friendly and knowledgeable. They are a great group of people.”Recknagel strives to evolve just as her customer base, and their buying habits, have over the years. Her store is arranged as a “shop in shop,” a type of boutique where customers find goods from a variety of vendors in small displays or areas of the store. Items range from jewelry, to clothing, handbags and more.