PSU grad opens new business at Block22

“Pippi Mae’s Curated Home,” the newest business to join Block22 at Fourth and Broadway in downtown Pittsburg, will be a new home décor boutique owned and operated by Pittsburg State University graduate Melissia Lewis. 


Her merchandise will be “items that will feel like one of a kind — handcrafted, artisanal, carefully curated finds,” she said. 

Her lease in the space previously occupied by Sonder & Co., 401 N. Broadway Suite C. (between TOAST and Brick + Mortar Social House) will begin on July 1, and she anticipates opening to the public later in July. Block22 is a collaborative project by Pittsburg State, the City of Pittsburg, and Vecino Group. 


Lewis, who earned a bachelor’s degree in education from PSU in 1993, was a teacher for many years, most recently at Westside Elementary School. She got her start in the business world a few years ago when she opened Farm Girl Made in Liberal, Missouri — a boutique shop on her small farm in which she sold unique home décor to shoppers on weekends. 

“I wanted to take it to the next level, and I was intrigued by the downtown development in Pittsburg,” she said. 

Having moved to Pittsburg in eighth grade, in high school she worked at Ramsey’s Department Store on Broadway and was sad when stores began to close and the area began to look abandoned.  

“A few years ago, I saw the revitalization happening, Block22 happening, and shops opening. Life was returning to the downtown, it’s become more walkable, and I knew it was really going to take off,” Lewis said.  

She graduated from PHS in 1988, and her youngest of four sons followed in her footsteps in May. All four live in Pittsburg — Alex, 30, is a creative media specialist for PSU Athletics; Nicholas, 22, works for Jay Hatfield Motors; Jonah, 20, works for Pitsco Education; and Ben, 18, works for Watco Companies. 

She and Ben renovated a home on South Rouse, and she began searching for just the right place to open a shop. The space at Block22, with original tile floors, high ceiling, and a vintage vibe, will be a perfect backdrop to display her merchandise, she said.  

Eventually, she plans to also offer a consulting service for those who want to refresh their interior design and décor without a complete renovation. 

Mary Louise Widmar, executive director for operations at Block22, said the business will be a great fit. 

“It's near several restaurants, coffeeshops, boutiques, and other locally-owned stores that people can visit and make a morning, an afternoon, or a whole day of it,” Widmar said.

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