Back 2 Basics recently opened for business, and for many, it has been a welcome sight.
“I’m glad this is here. It’s been too long since we’ve had this kind of store - with something for all ages, and even men’s clothing, without having to travel to Fresno,” Gina Casebolt said. A Coarsegold resident, Casebolt works in Oakhurst and decided to do a little shopping during her lunch break.
The store offers just what the name implies - basics in everything (including intimates) in infant to plus sizes.
Just about everyone knows that clothing and accessories go hand-in-hand, and Back 2 Basics has that covered with an ample supply of purses, wallets, gloves, and scarves.
“I have lived through the entire neglect of our community,” store owner Lisa Weddle said, “from driving to Fresno to shop for my daughter and for my family, and I wanted to open a shop where I could offer affordable clothing to Mountain Area families. They are my first priority. Tourists are secondary.”
Reactions have been positive from both shoppers and those who just popped in to take a quick look around.
Women are especially excited about the assortment of intimates. One young woman, Claire Smith, making a pit stop before heading off to work at Bargain Market Grocery Outlet, was thrilled to shop the intimates wall.
“We have more than 350 bras in stock,” Weddle explained. “Now, if you break a strap, you don’t have to drive down to Fresno.”
Weddle has lived in the mountains for 40 years, moving here while just a youngster of 11.
“I’ve watched the town go through an evolution,” she said. “There was only one store when we moved here - Midway Market which became Cromwell’s, and then Raley’s came in ... over the years, I’ve seen stores come and go. But when Gottschalks closed, I thought it was just so unfortunate for our community.”
Weddle brings a long history of retail experience to her business. She began working for Raley’s in 1986 as a part-time clerk, and worked her way up to assistant director before leaving in 2007.
She then worked as director of retail at the Pines Resort for five years, opening three retail shops in the Pines Village - Top to Bottom, Man Cave, and Bass Lake Treasures.
Seeing few shopping options in the area, Weddle decided it was time to take action, to step out on her own and open an affordable clothing shop.
Now that she’s settled in, and the hard work of stocking and displaying items has been accomplished (thanks to assistance from husband Keith, and daughter Katrina - a Yosemite High senior), Weddle can take a deep breath, relax a little, and have some fun “shopping vicariously through customers.”
Not one to pressure, Weddle simply greets shop visitors with a warm smile as they walk in, and let’s them go about the business of browsing the racks. Of course, she’s available for any questions, and should they need a little help, her face beams because she “loves helping them shop.”
Two recent shoppers were Michelle Niewohner and her 9-year-old daughter, Teagan.
“We had so much fun shopping there,” Michelle said. “It’s awesome to have a local store with some nice, basic, affordable clothing. Teagan went crazy, looking at everything, wanting to try on everything. She fell in love with a stripped hooded sweater, with buttons and a little belt. She wore it to school the next day, with her leggings and boots. When I asked her if it was a little too warm to wear that, she emphatically responded, ‘no.’”
Before they had even left the building, arms overflowing with shopping bags, Teagan turned, looked up at her mother, and eagerly asked, “so, when are we coming back?”
Back 2 Basics is located behind McDonald’s in Oakhurst. Hours: Monday - Saturday, 9 a.m. - 7 p.m., and Sunday, 10 a.m. - 6 p.m.