B&B Marketplace is a family affair with two daughters and a daughter-in-law working alongside owner Kandi Meinecke. Shown left to right are daughter-in-law Miranda Meinecke, owner Kandi Meinecke, and daughters Jentry Meinecke and Kaylinn Smith.


Owner Kandi Meinecke opened her business March 11.

By Susan Thompson | Lake Panorama Times

For 26 years, Kandi Meinecke operated Britches ‘N’ Bows Country Store at her farm home on Willow Avenue northeast of Panora. In early March, that business morphed into B&B Marketplace, now housed at 106 E. Main in Panora. The building had been home to Quinnebago Outdoors and, before that, Ben’s Five and Dime. 

“I never dreamed of moving my business to town; it didn’t appeal to me,” Meinecke says. “I was happy in my own space and doing what I wanted in the country. But when the Quinnebago auction sign appeared in the window, it hit me like a ton of bricks. I figured, now or never, go for it and expand your business.”

One section of the B&B Marketplace is devoted to items for children and includes clothing, shoes, toys, books and more.

Meinecke grew up on a farm near Yale and attended YJB High School, followed by retail management at DMACC in Ankeny. She married Tom Meinecke 33 years ago, and they moved to their farm on Willow Avenue 32 years ago. The couple has two daughters and one son, plus two grandchildren.

Britches ‘N’ Bows began as a partnership with her mother.

“We started with a small business loan of only $5,000. We started by crafting most of our inventory but accented with florals, candles and other home items,” Meinecke says. “As years went by, we started ordering more goods from vendors, including things like rugs, clocks and picture frames. Next, we added jewelry and, finally, boutique clothing, which was a huge hit.”  

Meinecke says they even were involved in the Beanie Baby craze, which lasted almost four years. The store was located in an old granary, which was attached to their house. A garage was used for storage. Now B&B Marketplace is located in a building that offers 10,000 square feet over two floors. 

The business opened March 11. 

One section of the store is dedicated to home décor with additional items scattered throughout the shop. Owner Kandi Meinecke is a fan of seasonal décor and says customers can plan on seeing a nice variety of items for holidays and changing seasons.

“My goal is to provide the community with a trendy marketplace shopping experience that includes a coffee, espresso and dessert bar; a fresh floral counter; boutique clothing; and home décor,” Meinecke says. “This also gives me space to display and promote my event décor and rental services.” 

The business logo lists floral, coffee, décor. 

“I have dreamed of having a flower shop forever, but my country location wasn’t big enough,” Meinecke says. “I had been offering fresh flowers for weddings the past several years and managed to do that from my garage. Now I can have a full flower shop and offer flowers for every occasion.”

Cash-and-carry fresh floral premade arrangements are in a cooler. In person, online and phone orders can be picked up or delivered.

While Kandi Meinecke offered shoes occasionally at her Britches ‘N’ Bows store, she now has space to offer a wider variety of styles and sizes.

“We have Brew & Bloom baskets that include a two-cup coffee carrier with a mixed vase of flowers and choice of brew, wrapped in a cellophane gift bag and a greeting card that can be picked up or delivered. We did a Valentine special with these, and I think it will become a staple item for us.”

Meinecke says the coffee and espresso bar is something new for her. 

“I wanted to bring this to my customers for a more pleasurable shopping experience,” she says. “We offer daily baked goods, like brownies, cookies and mini bundt cakes. Our seating is limited to eight window seats. Our goal is for people to come in and order, then browse while enjoying their drink, or order takeout. Customers also can order online.”

Meinecke says she’s been asked if tables and chairs will be added near the coffee bar. 

“I like the open concept we have there, so we won’t add more seating. I think the stools along the window provide what shoppers need,” she says. “However, if groups want to meet in the building after business hours, I will have some tables and chairs that can be set up.” 

Kandi Meinecke dreamed of having a flower shop, but her former location on the family farm wasn’t big enough. Now she has a full flower shop and offers flowers for every occasion. Cash-and-carry fresh flowers are in a cooler. In person, online and phone orders can be picked up or delivered.

Those who shopped at Meinecke’s Britches ‘N’ Bows location can expect to find the same types of merchandise at B&B Marketplace, just more of it with a modern twist. 

Near the coffee bar is a special section for infants and children that offers clothing, shoes, books, stuffed animals and more. Next is a display of accessories. 

“Jewelry has always been a great item for us,” Meinecke says. “We also have hats, hair clips, sunglasses and many other fun accessories.” 

Women’s clothing and shoes fill the southwest corner of the store. 

“We’ve always tended toward casual clothing, with lots of jeans, T-shirts, sweatshirts,” she says. “We have a wide range of sizes, from teeny tiny through extended. At my other shop, I didn’t have room to offer extended sizes, but now I can. The same is true for shoes. I used to have shoes occasionally, but now I have space to offer more shoes and more sizes.” 

B&B Marketplace owner Kandi Meinecke is shown at the store’s coffee and espresso bar, which is open during store hours. Available are several types of coffee, tea, hot chocolate, cold drinks and daily baked goods.

Another section of the store is dedicated to home décor. 

“We have added more décor, because we now have the space to display more,” she says. “In addition to our fresh flowers, we have green houseplants and artificial flowers. Seasonal decor is our favorite, so customers can plan on seeing plenty of that.” 

For seven years, Meinecke has been decorating for weddings and other special events. 

“All of our retail operation is on the first floor. Later in the spring, we’ll move our special event rental décor into the basement to display. Customers will be welcome to browse that area, but if someone wants to discuss plans for an event, it will be best if they make an appointment,” she says. 

The basement also will be used for special events. For instance, Meinecke plans to hold a “maker’s market” three or four times each year. 

“We’ll invite local artisans to rent a table for the day to share and sell their creations,” she says. 

During regular business hours, only the north entrance on Main Street will be open. The south door that leads into the basement will be locked, except for special events. 

Meinecke says she didn’t make many changes to the building before moving in. 

“The ceilings, walls and floors all were here. We did change all the light fixtures and had the coffee bar and window seating built,” she says. “Right now, the back part of the main floor is curtained off and used for storage. But as we grow, I hope to turn at least part of that into retail space and part of it into a work area.” 

B&B Marketplace is open six days a week, with Tuesday as the one day it’s closed. Hours are Monday and Saturday, 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Sunday 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. 

Meinecke plans to be at the business most of the time when the doors are open. She’ll be assisted by three women who worked at her former location — daughters Kaylinn Smith and Jentry Meinecke, and daughter-in-law Miranda Meinecke — plus several part-time employees.

B&B Marketplace has a Facebook page. The business phone number is 641-755-4188, and email is shopbbmarketplace@gmail.com. Online shopping is available for clothing, shoes, jewelry, home décor, fresh flowers and coffee bar items. The website for online shopping and in-store updates is Shopbbmarketplace.com.

Kandi Meinecke is shown with the wide array of women’s clothing and accessories available in her new store.