Joyce Stinnett has been the face of Little Red Rooster in downtown Emporia for almost five years.

The small, quaint store at 829 ½ Commercial St. is a dream come true for her.

“The dream to own my own business started about 15 years ago,” she said. “My dad used to make furniture and create things from wood when I was a kid. It was really neat. He made little bird houses, lamps — all kinds of little gadgets and things. He still does, and my sister does as well. We all love it.”

That love of creating and crafting initially led Stinnett to craft shows.

“I would research and find markets and shows I could go to,” she said. “I bought some items and then I started getting vendors — I started buying from them, and that’s how I got started. It just grew from there.”

The store features unique and different home decor items including candles, craft items, jewelry, purses and more.

Stinnett said she takes pride in creating and finding unique, one-of-a-kind items for her customers.

“I make a lot of my stuff,” she said. “My future daughter-in-law helps me, and my son cuts items out for me. My husband helps me also. I want to provide unique gifts; I strive to have different items in my store that one wouldn’t find elsewhere.”

As one browses the store, it’s hard to take in all the items at once, as a multitude of products layer the shelves and walls within.

Stinnett said she doesn’t have any one item that is a best-seller, but some are more popular than others.

“My candles are hand-poured by a family,” she said. “They burn and smell exactly like they do in the jar. The candles are popular and sell pretty well. I also sell a lot of crosses. I do make some of my own, but I also try to find ones that are unique from my vendors. I don’t want something that everybody else has. I have a cross hanging in the store now that is made out of bed springs.”

Stinnett said much of the success of Little Red Rooster is due to a thriving, growing, downtown Emporia.

“I think being a part of Emporia Main Street is awesome,” she said. “Believe it or not, we do have a lot of people who shop downtown. We have a lot at Christmas and there are so many people now who stay in town to shop in Emporia.”

With more and more businesses popping up downtown each year, Stinnett said it adds to the appeal.

“Emporia has become a great place to shop,” she said. “Since I’ve been in business, my husband and I always shop local. It really means so much to shop local. The buildings on Main Street are pretty neat too. My building is an older building and my landlord is great. I have the best neighbors that I could have — on both sides of my business. We’ve got some great businesses in downtown Emporia.”

Stinnett said she strives to go the extra mile by providing her customers with a pleasant shopping environment.

“I have a rocking chair in my store for the men who come in with their wives,” she said. “If they get tired, they can sit while their wives shop. I also try to play music in my store — older music — a lot of people really love the older music. As it’s playing and they are shopping, they will say, ‘Oh, I remember that song.’ Some people come in just to hang out and listen to the music.”

Stinnett loves to visit her mom and dad in Atlanta and has two children and four grandchildren. She has two Yorkie dogs and loves to ride her bicycle on gravel.

“I rode in the 50-mile race at the Dirty Kanza and did finish,” she said. “I love to create. I’m just me — you get what you get when you are around me. I also love going racing with my husband; I really enjoy that.”

Stinnett is married to NHRA national champion racer Gary Stinnett, who came up with the idea for the name of the store.

“Gary came up with the name and made the sign outside,” she said. “There is actually a song called, ‘Little Red Rooster.’ Gary loves the store because it gets me out of the house. He drag races for a living and builds motors for people all over the county. My store is therapy for me and I’ve found my niche. I’m not in it for the money. I just enjoy it and like being here because it’s so much fun.

“I love my customers and enjoy seeing and talking to them. They keep coming back and are such wonderful people. I really appreciate their business.”

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