Jennifer Rushton co-owns and -operates the Dress Lounge, Kingston, which opened 14 months ago and specializes in bridal and prom dresses. Rushton is a native of Nanticoke and is a graduate of Greater Nanticoke Area High School and the Wilma Boyd Career School in Pittsburgh, where she studied travel and tourism. She has been involved in the wedding planning business for 15 years. She lives in Swoyersville.
Meet Jennifer Rushton…
You’ve worked in the catering and hospitality business for many years at places such as Nichols Village, Genetti’s, Bentley’s and the Westmoreland Club. What led to the opening of the Dress Lounge?
I owned a boutique on Market Street in Kingston, about 10 years ago, called Panache. It was a trendy women’s clothing boutique, and I loved it. I had it for five and a half years, but I outgrew that environment, because I started doing special events while I had the shop. I eventually helped start MCR (Magic Carpet Ride), which was our own specialty business for designing weddings and special events, and for which I still do the event planning and wedding planning. The next chapter of wedding planning and design was having a bridal shop. So I now wedding plan, full-time, and have the shop.
What do you enjoy the most about running the shop?
It’s rewarding when they find their dress. It’s really exciting. I’m up for a good challenge. On the wedding planning side, it’s really nice to make their vision come to life, and when you open the doors for the first time, they get to see what the room looks like, and they’re star struck, and it looks just how they wanted it. And the flipside of that coin is when they find that dress and they just feel amazing in it. And it’s the same with bridesmaids. It’s a challenge to find all of the different shapes and styles to coordinate with the bride and with the moms. You’re working with all different personalities. And dresses come to life on people, and they really love them. That’s the most rewarding thing. I have a great customer base and a great team that works here. We love finding dresses for girls, and we like making girls happy.
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
I really enjoy going to the gym. It’s very therapeutic. I don’t have to talk. I don’t have to think. I don’t have to check emails. I don’t have to do anything connected to social media. And I’m a morning person. I really love the mornings. I have three golden retrievers, and I love to spend time with them outside, whether it’s playing ball or going to the park or just hanging out in my back yard. I embrace the mornings with them.
I love Adele. I love Bruno Mars. I’m into Post Malone and Donell Jones. I love old-school R&B. I like everything. Luke Bryan. I was never a country fan, and suddenly I like his music.
Do you follow sports?
I’m a Notre Dame fan.
My folks live in Philadelphia, so I do like to go there. There’s a lot of things to do, and I’m a big foodie. I love to try new restaurants.
Favorite vacation spot?
I really enjoyed Aruba the last time I was there, but I also love Mexico. Every time I plan a vacation, I say I’m going to go somewhere different, because I want to see everything, but I have such a soft spot in my heart for Mexico. But Europe is on the bucket list. Italy and Greece are hopefully in the plans for next summer.
Favorite thing about NEPA?
I do like the change of the seasons. I’m not a winter person, per se. I like it when it’s about 70 degrees, but I do like the change. I like the fall foliage, and I like it when it’s really hot in the summertime. And I love the local community. I’ve met a lot of great people and am involved with a lot of different things and organizations.
All-time favorite movie?
“Pretty Woman” and “Dirty Dancing.”
Sushi. Japanese is my favorite.
Ice cream. All kinds. (Laughs)
Biggest pet peeve?
I find it very important to thank people. I just think that kindness goes a long way, and that the world is a little bit on the rude side, sometimes, and that we need to take a step back. Just saying “Hello,” or “Good morning” to someone goes a lot further than just brushing past them. I think those things are important.
Is there anything about you that might surprise even your friends?
I’ve worked so much all of my life, but I recently found a love of being outside and being in nature. Walks, hikes, spending time with my dogs … I never really went that route before, but I just went horseback riding, and I want to go kayaking. I’m really starting to embrace nature.
Have you had a defining personal moment, or an event in your life, or a time in your life, that has really helped shape you into the person you are today?
I recently went through a divorce, and it changed me as a person. I’ve always been independent, but you learn to become very independent. Simple things like changing things in your house and learning to live by yourself and heal from the process … it’s just been a very big eye-opener to me, in how important my parents are and what a great friends-base I have and what lengths people will go to comfort you and help you and show you that there’s really so much more ahead for you.
UP CLOSE & PERSONAL with ALAN K. STOUT is a regular feature in electric city, profiling people from all walks of life throughout NEPA. Reach Alan at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photos by Emma Black and submitted photos