Becca George, VIP Murfreesboro, September 5, 2018
Women’s fashion has seen many changes over the years from blazers and shoulder pads to slip dresses and mary janes. The Buttercup, a highend women’s boutique, supplied Murfreesboro women with specialty clothing from 1977 to 2004. The Buttercup, started by Nancy Coleman and her mother Ruth Wood, had true southern roots. “We carried everything from sportswear to dresses,” explains Nancy. The Buttercup, which was located first on East Main Street, carried items that the department stores did not. “We had classic, beautiful clothing that appealed to so many different ages,” says Nancy. Nancy and Ruth would go to market each year to hand-pick items geared toward the women who shopped at The Buttercup. “We tried to get things that we like, I think that was the beauty of it,” explains Nancy.
In addition to clothing, The Buttercup carried jewelry, purses, shoes and accessories. “We had items for all ages, women my mother’s age, my age, and even college. It was just really beautiful, classic clothing and all the women in my family took a hand in it.” says Nancy. When The Buttercup opened in 1977 there were no malls in Murfreesboro and not as many options to get fashionable and high end apparel and accessories. “What I think is the funniest thing,” laughs Nancy, “We carried these sweaters by Michael Simon, Bellepointe and Eagle’s Eye. I have storage boxes full of them and now my daughter wears them to ugly Christmas sweater parties.” Nancy still has people stop her and tell her about the clothing they have saved that was purchased at The Buttercup. “Some of the things we carried could still be relevant today, they were so classic and well made,” says Nancy, “I can remember the Anne Klein purses we carried. There was a scene in working girl where she is carrying an Anne Klein purse with her suit. We had that at the store.” The Buttercup also offered free alterations and gift wrapping.
“Men would often come in for Christmas gifts. They truly missed it when it was gone,” laughs Nancy. Ruth Wood was the inspiration behind The Buttercup and had always wanted to open a women’s boutique. “She was just a true southern lady, and she was beautiful,” explains Nancy. The Buttercup was a true family business. Nancy’s sister, Susan Vanderpool, was also a large part of the shop and eventually her brother, Jim Wood, bought The Buttercup for his daughter, Jennifer Anderson, to run. Nancy ran the shop for 19 years until she and her husband started a family. “I took my son to market one time and then told my mom I wanted to stay home with him,” remembers Coleman. “Murfreesboro was a really small town and to be in business that many years you meet a lot of people,” explains Nancy, “Almost every time I am out I see someone who shopped in the store.” The Buttercup was truly a business that incorporated many. “Our friends worked in the store, it was just like a family,” explains Nancy. Ruth, Nancy and Susan all spent time at The Buttercup.
“We all traveled to market together,” says Nancy, “It was several generations.” Her niece Jennifer spent a lot of time at The Buttercup growing up so it was a natural transition when she took over. The Buttercup was the first recipient of a Ruthie’s Award for “best women’s clothing store” twenty-four years ago. Three generations of women helped to shape fashion and what was available in Murfreesboro for many years leaving a lasting impression on all those who shopped at The Buttercup.