The Mermaid’s Tale in historic downtown Amherst is a fashion-savvy boutique stuffed with a bright potpourri of jewelry and personal accessories for trend-lovers of all ages.

The storefront opened its doors as an antique shop in 1992, when Judy Recknagel, who had been dealing antiques since the late 1970s, needed an area to display her items. Seven years ago Recknagel decided to change the focus of her store and became a retailer for the Pandora jewelry line. From there, Recknagel grew her business with other merchandise that answered the craving of shoppers looking for fashionable finds and gift items.

“There is always something different and unusual that you cannot find in other stores,” says Recknagel.

The Mermaid’s Tale carries numerous designer jewelry brands, clothing and purse lines. The store receives new merchandise daily. In addition to Pandora, shop-goers can browse Metalsmith Sterling, a luxury sterling silver line with pieces starting under $100, and the MarahLago Larimar jewelry line, which incorporates a blue stone from the Caribbean. Trendy accessory lines include Vera Bradley quality handbags and stationery, as well as Spartina 449 handbags, which are inspired by the easy seaside lifestyle of Daufuskie Island, S.C. Plus, the store is adding a fun flip-flop line for spring.

“I look for items that are offered by aggressive companies that have a plan for growth,” says Recknagel. “Their products should be unique and have the universal appeal to be worn by just about anyone.”

Since opening her business, Recknagel has witnessed a spike in merchant growth and has been an active participant in Amherst’s revitalization. She has held positions on the city’s Design Review Board and with the Main Street Amherst organization. Recknagel and other Main Street Amherst supporters have made huge strides in improving all aspects of the downtown business district by improving economic growth, strengthening public participation and making downtown a destination.

“It’s exciting to see how the downtown Amherst area is growing,” says Recknagel.

In recognition of her store’s growth, Recknagel recently received the 2010 Golden 30 Award as an established business that has demonstrated exceptional performance. The Golden 30 Awards recognize innovation and entrepreneurism in Lorain County’s fastest-growing and established companies. The Mermaid’s Tale employes 15, but Recknagel plans to nearly doubling the number of staff members this year.

Much of Recknagel’s success can be attributed to her knack for customer service. “I get to know all of the store’s customers as best as I can. I remember their names, the names of their children, where they attend school and even what their husbands may have just purchased for them from the store,” she says.

The Mermaid’s Tale, located at 201 Church St., is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.