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story.lead_photo.caption Liv Paggiarino/News Tribune Nacona Gaona stands for a portrait in her boutique, Chicken Lipz, on Thursday, May 7, 2020 on Jefferson Street. The boutique has recently opened for business, and sells clothing, accessories, shoes, jewelry and more.

Nacona Gaona isn't afraid of the hustle. The 24-year-old single mother knew she would need plenty of it to make her dream of opening a clothing store come true.

That dream became a reality earlier this month when Gaona opened Chicken Lipz boutique at 310 Jefferson St.

While several businesses reopened after being closed because of the coronavirus pandemic, Gaona held her grand opening May 4.

"I am a single mom and trying to strive to open up this business because it is my dream," Gaona said. "We prayed about it, and it all happened all fast."

The boutique offers clothes — including customized graphic T-shirts — shoes, accessories, home decor and bath products.

Chicken Lipz also offers children's clothes and educational toys, which Gaona's mother, Duanella Roe, said sets the business apart from other boutiques.

"They're toys that help kids spark their imaginations and creativity," Roe said, pointing out a toy tool belt on one shelf. "They're pretty much a toy that the child isn't just going to play with. They're going to interact, they're going to learn."

The shop is open 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

It wasn't a shock when Gaona told her mother she wanted to open her own clothing business, Roe said. Gaona has always been the stylish "girly-girl," she added.

"Teachers would hand out candy bars, and she got Spree candy because she always looked like she's been on a shopping spree," Roe joked. "Nacona always went out in style while everybody else wore pajama pants to school."

Chicken Lipz operated in Mountain View until Gaona purchased the business from its previous owner in late February.

When Gaona bought the business, it sold more country-style clothes. However, Gaona said, she wants to change the vision and sell more feminine styles.

After moving the products to the Capital City, Gaona and her parents renovated the Jefferson Street shop, painting shelves and building a dressing room. Gaona and Roe set up the displays and learned the point-of-sale system.

Gaona originally planned to open Chicken Lipz on April 1 but postponed because of the coronavirus pandemic.

Gaona said she is most excited to learn the ropes of the business.

"I'm still new, but I'm excited to get learn how it all works and meeting people from Jeff City," she said.

Know of any business happenings around Jefferson City? Let us know at [email protected]

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