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Local grad opening boutique in former Weber Jewelers space 

Entrepreneur and local resident Lauren Murphy-Zahora is opening a new boutique in Kettering — and she wants to use it as an opportunity to show young girls that they’re capable of anything.

Murphy-Zahora, 23, is expanding her online retail business by opening her first brick-and-mortar location in the former Weber Jewelers location in Kettering. The Shopping Bag has posted signs outside of the building located at 3109 Far Hills Ave. in Kettering.

» RELATED: Fred Weber leaves leadership legacy as Kettering jewelry store closes

Murphy-Zahora said her store will open toward the end of August. She’s been operating her website since 2012, and it’s caught the attention of national media and celebrities like Tori Spelling. The website sells clothing, shoes, home decor, beauty items and other products.

The young entrepreneur said after graduating from Oakwood High School, she wanted to combine her passion for retail and entrepreneurship to build her business.

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“I really have this passion for retail, and the idea was inspired by my grandma,” she said. “She was such a shopper, and she was truly a great person and always found the best gifts for people.”

The Shopping Bag already employs approximately 10 to 15 people, and will hire additional workers for the brick-and-mortar store. The retailer could expand beyond one location soon, Murphy-Zahora said, and men’s clothing and accessories might be added to the inventory too.

Murphy-Zahora said she was bullied growing up and often felt the impact of the “mean-girl mentality.” Since then, she has advocated for anti-bullying campaigns and charities.

“I took those bricks and built with it,” she said. “I hope I can be an inspiration to other girls that you can persevere and make a nice life. It does get better.”

The retail building formerly held Weber Jewelers, which closed its doors at the end of 2016.

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