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Wheaton woman to bring sense of style to downtown with home decor store

Published: Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014 11:22 a.m. CDT

WHEATON – Downtown Wheaton will get a shot of style when a new home decor store, Joan’s Place, opens in the coming months.

The business is the brainchild of longtime Wheaton resident Joan Harris, whose Boston accent displays her nearly 50 years in the area.

The idea for the store came from a love of decorating, she said, but her motivation for opening a shop so late in life was about reinventing herself.

Harris said she decided to take her life in a new direction after she put her husband in a nursing home early last year. She had worked for years in his insurance agency, but decided to undertake a new change.

“I like people and I like talking to people and I figured it was a good [fit],” she said. “I can keep shopping and this way I don’t have to bring it home.”

Harris said her business would offer different items than similar stores nearby. Paula Barrington, executive director for the Downtown Wheaton Association, thinks Harris will likely find success.

“She brings her own special tastes to the store, which will make it unique to the other stores we have in the area,” Barrington said. “I feel like she’s following her passion – I got the impression that this is something she has wanted to do for quite some time.”

Harris said her three children and some of her six grandchildren will help her prepare to open by early March.

“Everybody’s kind of excited for me doing this,” she said. “They’ve always known I’ve loved this kind of stuff, and I just tell them that if it fails, it’s just less in the inheritance.”

Harris said that while she is lucky to be healthy and active – she hopes to go skiing later this year – it is important to treat age as a number.

“I hope I don’t look like a little old lady, but that’s what I am. I feel you should be able to do what you want to do as long as you can,” she said. “I don’t look at age, I never have. I think if you look at yourself and say ‘I’m 75,’ then you become 75.”

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