Photo by Jess Charlton
The owner of Roberta’s Lovely Ladies Boutique, Roberta Jayne, is retiring after dedicating herself to helping women with cancer for two decades. Roberta’s Boutique carries bras from an A-cup to H-cup, mastectomy bras, maternity bras, wigs, turbans and scarves, including pre-tied.
ALTON — Roberta Jayne, owner of Roberta’s Lovely Ladies Boutique, has spent her career being a voice for women.
Roberta’s Boutique, 603 W. Delmar, has dedicated itself to helping women for more than 20 years. Now Jayne has decided the time is right to retire and pass the torch.
Jayne first began her career helping people as a certified nursing assistant. She decided to shift her career and began working for Rinderer’s Pharmacy.
“A lady from my church told me to go there for an interview,” Jayne said.
Rinderer’s helped women cancer patients be fitted for undergarments, known as mastectomy fitting. At the time, Jayne was working at a local hospital.
Paul Hale, the lead pharmacist, hired Jayne.
“I told him that if he had me properly trained, I’ll be the best fitter he ever had,” she said. “So he did. He had me professionally trained.”
After a year and a half, the two married, bought the mastectomy line from Rinderer’s and opened Roberta’s Lovely Ladies Boutique. Geared toward cancer survivors, Jayne had the vision to help women cope with what they were going through and to make them feel empowered and hopeful.
“The women who are going through chemo come in, and there are just so many emotions they go through, from fear to anger to giving up — which is all understandable. That’s why we are here. They can vent to us. We let them cry; we cry together. We share a lot of hugs; we collect those,” she said, chuckling.
“I just love to help people. As long as I can help somebody, I’m happy. My priority is satisfying the ladies, not making a profit.”
Roberta’s Boutique carries bras from an A-cup to H-cup, mastectomy bras, maternity bras, wigs, turbans and scarves, including pre-tied.
“There was no place when I started this business for bras for the bigger-busted women in the River Bend area,” she said. “I also knew when starting this business there was no place to find wigs, and I knew that some of my ladies were going through chemo and radiation. I also knew I was going to need swimsuits.”
Feeling of loss is balanced with a sense of accomplishment, leading to Jayne’s difficult decision.
“Five years after Paul and I married, I came home from the shop and found him,” she said. “He passed away due to a massive coronary, and I don’t want to have to go through that again. I’ll be 70 soon, and my husband will be turning 87. It’s time.”
Jayne said she’s had many people interested in taking over her business, but so far no one has been able to swing it financially.
“I will teach the new person the ropes until they are ready to be on their own,” she said. “I will just be a paid employee for the new owner.”
For the new owner, Jayne said she would like to keep everything the same, while remaining flexible.
She is asking $200,000 for the established business, including merchandise.
“I’ve just always had the best of every world possible doing this,” she said.
Roberta’s is open 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday. For information, call (618) 467-0640.