By Lori Leath Smith
Dana Jolman and her husband, Dustin, (also her high school sweetheart) found their way to our area when stationed here at the beginning of Dustin’s career. As a military wife and mom of four, Dana and her family have come full circle after having been transferred several times now, relocating to South Dakota, Germany, Ohio and back, and luckily for us, have decided to stay in the area.
Dustin has served almost 20 years in the EOD field and Dana’s interests include keeping up with the kids. Beyond that, she thrives on caring for indoor plants as well as tending to outdoor gardening. “I pretty much enjoy any craft; some of my creations are actually in the store.”
As Retail Manager and social media marketing manager for The Porch Life Boutique, her job is multi-faceted. “I get to utilize so many aspects of my personal loves such as creativity with setting up our unique displays and my business degree training by doing the managerial tasks,” says Dana.
But what Dana really likes the most about her job is servicing The Porch Life customers and really getting to know them on a personal level. “Most people will tell you I’ve never met a stranger. So, to be able to interact and help others be creative is a dream for me, and I’m so grateful that this small family owned business let me infiltrate their circle. They are a joy to work for.”
Founded in 2016 by owners Kenny and Jennifer Bray, this unique Boutique carries a wide array of classy, sometimes whimsical and specialty products for the home and garden. “We offer handmade furniture, hand poured candles, pillows, rain gauges, wind spinners, indoor and outdoor plants, bird feeders and houses, and tons of decorative pots, planters and huge outdoor statues that are scattered throughout our nursery,” says Dana. “We also offer different gift ideas than just your regular run-of-the-mill items and we try to keep it eccentric. We want you to have a unique yard compared to your neighbors. So, we don’t we don’t order in bulk from the big box stores, because we want everyone’s space to be uniquely theirs.”
The idea for the Boutique came from Jennifer and their daughter, Jessica. Kenny owns the parent company, K&R Cuts Landscaping and felt a showroom would be valuable to his customers; there they could display ways to spruce up your porch after landscaping work was completed. “They started it as a way to showcase ideas for others, and that was the beginning of it all,” says Dana. “Now, everyone that works here is super creative and just wants to share their knowledge on decorating, plants or just offer ideas for your home.”
The Porch Life Boutique is also involved in the community helping to support other small businesses. For example, handmade furniture as well as the Boutique’s hand poured candles are purchased from a local artist in Panama City with much of the artist’s proceeds funneling back into the community to continue to help rebuild after hurricanes. “We want to help other small businesses thrive,” says Dana.
Dana says she hopes readers will seek out local shops, including theirs. “I promise you,” she says, “you won’t be disappointed; we are different from your larger stores with new offerings all the time. So, come in, stroll the store, head out to the nursery and ask all the questions you need to find the perfect gift, plant or other item. We love getting to know our customers and even just one visit makes you a part of The Porch Life Family.” Open 9 a.m. – 4:30 p.m. weekdays; 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. Saturdays; and 9 a.m. – 3 p.m. Sundays. 100 Old Milligan Rd., Crestview 32536. (850) 689-1497.