Jen Readinger encourages everyone to experience The Pink Poppy.


In describing her store and her philosophy, Jen Readinger often uses the word, “holistic.”


By Rich Wicks | Guthrie Center Times

Just off State Street, at 106 S. Fourth St. in Guthrie Center, is a store you simply must see to understand. The Pink Poppy Apothecary offers a unique array of items and experiences. Jen Readinger, owner of The Pink Poppy, shared the history of her business, which opened in August of 2018. She recalled how the business came to be.

“I always wanted my own business. I can’t name a female in my family that actually worked outside of their own business. Everybody’s always had one,” Readinger said.

Scented soaps to wash your cares away.

With two children in high school and one in the military, Readinger realized she finally had enough time to devote to a business. Around that same time, she was trying to help a family member who was dealing with chronic pain, so Readinger was studying alternatives to medication for pain control.

“I started studying aromatherapy, essential oils, holistic homeopathic medicine,” Readinger said. “I never thought I’d open a shop that had anything to do with that, but that’s what started it off.”

Readinger recalls that she started small when opening the boutique.

“We started with the basics — herbs, essential oils, and we had a little home décor thrown in,” Readinger said. “We started up on Main Street in a tiny store. Then, right about the time COVID hit, we bought this building. We’ve been here three years now, and it has expanded so much.”

Shelves at The Pink Poppy offer unique and surprising items.

In describing her store and her philosophy, Readinger often uses the word, “holistic.”

“We’re now a body, mind and soul boutique. I don’t believe that focusing solely on one thing leads to a happy and healthy life,” she said. “You need to take care of all of those things.”

After five-plus years in business, Readinger acknowledges that she follows her customers’ leads in what direction her business should evolve.

One area in which The Pink Poppy is evolving is social media and local events. The store has a Facebook page with many photos of new and discounted items, daily affirmations, humor and events. The inventory includes essential oils, soy candles, beauty supplies for women and men, metaphysical supplies, and many other items.

The Pink Poppy is typically open Thursday through Saturday until 7 p.m. each day. On other days, Readinger often teaches classes related to her offerings.

“I teach a lot of tea blending, how to make your own teas,” she said.

Tarot cards and instructions are available for new and experienced users at The Pink Poppy.

Because many of the store’s offerings are not familiar to everyone, Readinger is eager to help people learn about whatever catches a customer’s eye or imagination.

 “That’s why I do a lot of ‘101’ classes to introduce you to something,” Readinger said. “That’s what life is about. Just try it.”

When asked how she chose the name “The Pink Poppy,” Readinger said she put a lot of thought into choosing a store name.

“I didn’t want to be specific. I didn’t know really where this was going to go, but I knew that I wanted to remain a natural, holistic and spiritual growth setting. I liked the idea of doing an apothecary.”

While browsing in a book, Readinger happened to see a photo and description of a rare flower, the pink poppy. 

“The definition was ‘the divine feminine’ and ‘the protector of women’…and that was it,” Readinger said.

Surprisingly, Readinger said about 40% of her customers are male. She recalls many men who have come into the store with a significant other and been pleasantly surprised at the items available.

Readinger said many of her customers come from outside Guthrie County. She mentioned repeat customers from as far away as Omaha, eastern Iowa, Des Moines and Storm Lake. 

She also hears a frequent comment from local citizens making their first visit.

“They say, ‘I can’t believe this store is in Guthrie Center.’ I hear that so much,” Readinger said.

Customers at The Pink Poppy often find items they may have never seen elsewhere.

“I do have a lot of tarot and oracle, and that’s another thing that people are surprised to find here,” said Readinger. “Oracle is more like daily affirmations. A lot of therapists are using them now, and we sell the journals that go along with them.”

As with many small businesses, The Pink Poppy has a small staff.

“It’s mainly just me. My daughter helps out a lot. She has another job, and she’s just finishing up high school,” Readinger said. “She helps teach classes, and she crochets. My daughter and I rock hunt, so we bring in a lot of things that we find.”

When asked about her favorite moments in dealing with visitors to the store, Readinger had a ready answer.

“Some of my favorites are when kids come in and are so in awe of everything. It’s not a toy store, but just the colors and the rocks. They want to look and touch everything. We are kid friendly; please touch it.”

Readinger said she’s achieved her goal in creating a welcoming boutique and plans to continue for the foreseeable future.

“I want people, especially girls and women, to have a place to come into that’s a safe space where they feel safe asking questions… and I just want to grow that,” she said.