Her Campus Logo Her Campus Logo

Her Campus Kenyon Ventures to the Weather Vane

For three years, I have been sitting on the best kept secret in Gambier, Ohio. But I’m ready to share it. It’s easy to forget that there is a women’s clothing boutique in Gambier. The Weather Vane sits behind the Campus Safety office (that place you go when you lose your K-card after a night out). Perhaps you have seen the quaint white house with the willowy sign where the Weather Vane is located. Maybe you ventured in once, or visited the store with your mom, but after one glance decided it wasn’t for you. Perhaps you just wrote it off without ever giving it a chance. Maybe you assumed that was where your professors shopped and didn’t want to dare wearing the same piece. It’s possible that it blends into the rest of the unassuming houses around it, and you fail to even notice it. For a variety of reasons, this hidden gem is probably not on most of your radars.

During my freshman fall, I decided to dive into unknown territory. I needed the immediate gratification of going shopping. I didn’t want to get on a shuttle to Mount Vernon or shop online. None of my friends wanted to accompany me, but I just had to know what was inside of the only clothing store on campus. When I entered the store for the first time two years ago, I observed a tranquil atmosphere. I was the only customer there. Although nothing jumped out at me at first, I’m very glad that I decided to stay and look through everything because I left the store with some bonafide wins.

My experimental visit turned into a full-fledged shopping spree. I returned to my dorm with a complete fall wardrobe: a fabulous red sweater, a jean jacket, pants, shirts, etc. I bought at least nine items and spent less than $200. My friends received my purchases well, and I remember the warm feeling I got inside–the quest to The Weather Vane was victorious! Now that I’m aware that hidden gems lie in the depths of The Weather Vane I continue to make purchases there occassionally.

The owner, Jean Wyatt, is incredibly friendly, and I feel even more inclined to shop there after speaking with her. Jean founded the Weather Vane in 1975, after working in clothing retail at a mall. Despite her success as a salesperson (she broke all sales records), her supervisor made it clear that he would never hire a women for a managerial position. After two years, Jean left her position and moved on to a new job, where she learned “how to buy out of a catalog.” The skills she gained from this job gave her the ability to run a store. Three days before her wedding, her husband urged her to open her own store with money she had saved. She opened the Weather Vane shortly after marrying her husband.

Jean came to Gambier because she wanted to open a store in a college town in Ohio (she chose Gambier because $30 dollars a month to rent a space was very affordable). The shop first opened in the basement of the Village Inn.

Not only has the Weather Vane changed locations, but the store has completely transformed since its opening. It has several more high-end brands and a greater variety of customers. The boutique has a devoted body of customers; the majority are mother-daughter pairs, professors, and local women. They range from 16 to 95 to years old! However, there has been a decline in student clientele over the past decade. Perhaps we aren’t willing to take the time to look beyond the surface in this fast-paced generation of consumerism and online shopping.

But why not cut out the agonizing wait for a shirt you purchased online that might not fit? There are some great pieces at The Weather Vane spanning a variety of styles and price ranges. Sometimes a Gambier girl needs some retail therapy after all.  

All Weather Vane looks styled by Elizabeth Douglass, Emily Hage, Rowana Abbsensetts, and Sara Spruch-Feiner

Similar Reads👯‍♀️