Claiming Her Space

Alora – The new owner of Mr. Nice Guy – Photo by Jamie Lindsey

It’s time to stop thinking Mr. Nice Guy is all about nice guys. You will find no nice guys sitting in the store, but you will find a very friendly woman with yellow hair named Alora Bartlette. She’s a local woman who has recently taken ownership of Mr. Nice Guy, a local vape and glass shop. The shop has been a business in the area for a long time and has gone through multiple owners, but now, it’s all Alora’s. 

“As a woman, I feel very empowered. I don’t think I ever really tried to claim my own space before. Going from unemployed and having nothing to renting my own apartment, having my own car and owning my own business, it’s been quite a big jump and I feel like it’s really been a good change for me,” Alora said. “I had already known I wanted to own my own business because I don’t like answering to people. I like being able to do what I need to do.” 

And she did. Alora bought Mr. Nice Guy and within weeks was making her own money. “As a woman, I feel like I’m micromanaged constantly, especially by other women. So having this opportunity to finally claim my space and really start making it mine has been empowering.”

Alora decided she needed a change after leaving a 3 year abusive relationship. She had always wanted to start her own business and this was the opportunity she was taking. Customers, however, don’t quite understand that the friendly face behind the counter is now the owner. 

“A guy came in a few days ago and was basically telling me about my own product,” Alora said. “He mentioned that he managed a store before, but at the same time I own the store. Most people don’t come in here and think that this girl behind the counter is the owner. But like, why wouldn’t they?”

That’s the problem. There’s this weird stigma that surrounds women who work in the retail industry. If you’re at the register, you must only be a cashier and have no other placement in the store. When in reality, managers and owners work the front of a store often, but are still seen as cashiers instead of people in power. Being in a male-dominated industry, Alora knows the treatment she gets from customers can be sexist, but she still persists. 

“I want to change the narrative. Anybody can be the owner of the store. Ruling me out is a little bit silly,” Alora explains. “I may look young but that doesn’t mean I can’t do it.”

When people come into Mr. Nice Guys and mentions how they own the store, Alora responds, “No you don’t. Because it’s not a guy.” 

Anyone looking for tobacco pipes, hookahs, glass or any accessories should go to Mr. Nice Guy which is located at 1651 W 7th Street Suite 2. Tell Alora that Julie Joplin sent you! Alora is also looking for local artwork created by women to feature in her store!

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