A new retail business has opened a storefront in South Charleston and its owners are hoping to offer enough unusual items and gifts to keep customers coming back.
Village Chic, a vintage store focusing on refurbished furniture, home decor and other items, hosted an open house this week at its location at 164 N. Chillicothe St., where it shares space with a handful of other businesses including the Village Salon.
Owners Karman and Jennifer McKee focus on selling home decorations with a farmhouse theme, as well as restoring used furniture.
“Our love of vintage items and all things repurposing led us down this path,” Jennifer McKee said.
The business sells a roughly equal mix of new and restored decorations and furniture. It also works with area businesses like North Shore Primatives in Washington Court House and local artists to sell jewelry, scented candles and other items.
Karman McKee had already been collecting and refurbishing furniture in her home, so it was an easy transition to the business. There are few similar businesses in the area, so it offers customers a new place to shop for gifts and home decorations, Karman said.
Because they’re always working on new products, they expect enough turnover in the storefront to make sure customers will find something new on most visits.
In most cases, they scour auctions, antique shops, flea markets and other venues for the items they restore, but often get donations from friends. Although they want their business to thrive, they hope starting the retail store encourages other potential business owners to take a closer look at South Charleston.
“We’ve both lived in other cities,” Jennifer said. “But this is a bonus to get to come back here to South Charleston and do it here together in our hometown.”
The business isn’t the only vintage store in town, and other business owners agreed they’d like to encourage more small business. Adam and Stephanie Robinson opened 5Rs Cars and Collectibles at 17 S. Chillicothe St. in downtown South Charleston about a year ago.
Adam started the business part-time after he began collecting various items with his grandfather. While it started by focusing on vintage collectibles, signs and similar items, it has expanded to sell DVDs, gifts for children, comic books and even lawnmowers, strangely one of the store’s most popular items.
The store originally was open once a week, but has expanded its hours from noon to 5 p.m. on Thursdays and Fridays and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays.
“It seems like people want to put more businesses back in town,” Adam said. “People want to shop local.”