Everyone in Valparaiso knows about Lifestyles. You know what I’m talking about- that unique and interesting store that sits at the corner of Lincolnway and Franklin Street. Well, I got a chance to sit down with the owner of Lifestyles, and I found out that she is just as unique and interesting as the store itself.
Renee Vivian Blosky was born and raised in Griffith, Indiana and she moved to Valparaiso with her family in 1993. “We moved here because we liked the school systems,” Blosky says. “Plus, I got my Master’s at VU and came back because I loved the town.”
Blosky’s Master’s degree is in Education and she was a teacher at Duneland Schools for many years. She decided to take a leave of absence from teaching and went back to school for her second Master’s degree in Literature. Wanting to try something new yet unsure of what path to take, Blosky and a friend went into Lifestyles one day just to do some shopping. The store happened to be up for sale at that time. “We met the owner and everything just fell into place,” Blosky said with a smile. “I became the owner in 2008. I never worked retail before.”
Wow, this must be quite an undertaking. Blosky waves her bejeweled hand easily, “I believe that anyone can do anything they want to do, they just have to put forth the effort.”
“I like it. It’s so different. I have met a ton of great people, and really great customers.” Then she looked at me pointedly, “I want this store to be for everybody. I consider us a small department store. I hate the word ‘boutique’,” she said wrinkling her nose. “It sounds snobby.”
Lifestyles is a landmark in Valparaiso. Since it is in the downtown area, Blosky makes sure to form and keep good relationships with the surrounding businesses. “We try to work with downtown businesses. We will not sell what other businesses sell, and we’ll refer people to other stores.”
That is quite a bit of dedication put forth by you and your staff. You must really have an attachment to this town. “I have always loved the quaintness of downtown. Valpo is really friendly. What I love about the locals is that it’s the one thing that the big box stores don’t have. And my staff is fun. We laugh all the time!”
Blosky’s positive attitude is contagious as she describes her all of the things that happens in the store and out in the community. “We donate to most organizations, we’ve paid for movies in the park,” Blosky begins counting on her fingers, “We do animal adoptions here with Lakeshore PAWS. There’s a knitting club, art shows for local artists, and book signings for local authors.”
Blosky's go-getter attitude was inspired by her older sister, Chris. “She is a hard worker. Growing up, watching her made me feel like I could do anything. She was independent and I wanted that, too. She inspired me to go to college!” What is a good piece of advice for anyone who wants to do great things with his or her life? “You don’t say, ‘I can’t do it’. You find a way to do it.”
Renee Blosky can be found working and playing hard at Lifestyles. Go visit her and her staff and become charmed just like this writer did.