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By Anna Lothson
Joan Tromp was just 23 when she opened Ananas, a boutique and women's clothing store that secured her dreams of being self-employed and left her ready to help others find joy in the little things in life. The shop has been open for nearly 20 years at 109 N. Oak Park Ave.
That chapter will soon end as she announced Friday she'll be shuttering her shop at the end of July. While it's a sad day for Tromp and her faithful following, she said she'll be forever grateful for the experience.
"I'm just really appreciative of the beautiful run. I had a good run," she said. "I opened it up and it was just amazing. It just worked from the moment the door opened."
The support from the community — especially the many women who've passed through the doors — has been incredible, Tromp said. It's being with those people that will keep the Wisconsin resident connected to Oak Park.
"I always felt that this was my home," Tromp said. You are treated well at home. I wanted people to feel good when they were here and when they left."
The decision to shut down came a few weeks ago when Tromp said she faced the reality of the situation ahead of her. The economy hasn't recovered as she'd hoped, leaving fewer people shopping around town. When she realized it was time to leave, she wanted to do so with dignity. Now in her 40s, Tromp wants to focus on her children and simplify her life.
"I didn't want to run out and be a bad movie sequel. It was time to bow out. Other things are calling me," she said. "[Oak Park] is growing in different directions. It will always have a special place in my heart."
"I loved working with women and having the freedom to do that. It's always something I've aspired to do," she said. "I like making them feel good, supporting them. Sometimes women need help. We all need help."