Brick and mortar retail is here to stay. So begins an article from “Total Retail”. Downtown Lewisburg and especially Washington and cross streets are a stellar example of this positive trend. Women merchants dominate the downtown streets. These businesswomen are responsible for a strong flow of cash, resources, interest, tourism, and civic leadership. Up and down Washington Street there are women owning, running, and thriving in retail in real historic Lewisburg.
The buildings vary in age, complexity, beauty, and strength like the women who work in them daily. They are at your service with a smile. According to a 2017 consumer survey by Real Dive, shoppers prefer brick-and-mortar stores over e-commerce. The report writes that “the ability to see, touch, and feel products as well as take them home immediately rank highest among the reasons consumers choose to shop in stores versus online.” In downtown Lewisburg there is a good chance you will be greeted by a friendly, informed person offering quality, quaint, and sometimes quirky merchandise. Locals, tourists, travelers and the broader community enjoy the familiar, friendly faces these stores present.
Creating, building and maintaining a retail business is a brutal, demanding task. There are long hours, few breaks, sleepless nights, and relentless responsibility. It’s a lot like having a child. These female entrepreneurs, these “merchant mothers” provide for our community in so many ways. Behind each one is a staff, taxes, boosting local real estate, civic pride, tourism, and so much more. Their contribution to downtown is, well you know. “COOL”! (The women featured here are joined by many more who come to work each day on Washington Street. Look for more features in this series “Women in Food and Beverage” and “Women in Service”) | Find this feature at hashtagwv.com
24 years in business.
“I really enjoy the people and seeing old friends year after year.”
Since 1971 on Washington Street
“Ours is the oldest standing commercial building in Lewisburg. It was built in 1815.”
“So many people truly enjoy what we offer in downtown Lewisburg. Each shop is specially curated. We’ve gone through the legwork to choose what is, in my opinion, the Best merchandise available on the market today. We basically offer a town full of personal shoppers! There will always be obstacles to growth but if we keep focusing on being the best we can be together I feel we can be successful.”
“I opened COOPER GALLERY in 1995 selling Fine Art by regional and international known sculptors and painters. We also need to emphasize the diversity of inventory in the new shops and continue to monitor our marketing efforts. The main obstacle to growth in Downtown Lewisburg is lack of parking spaces for customers.”
“We are very much appreciative of the added business that the downtown festivals bring in. For such a tiny town, I think we have some extraordinarily high-quality events.
“We have never fully recovered from the 2016 flood and so far as I know this is true of other businesses as well. How to return to and exceed previous years I don’t know. Advertising would seem to be useful here. To get more West Virginia visitors to town I would suggest regular ads in the Charleston and Beckley newspapers.”
Edith’s Health and Specialty Store. 32 years in business
“I am so grateful to all the people who have supported the store. Edith’s Store is there because of you.”
SPH Interiors. Since 2010
“Its an exciting and fun place to work. Lewisburg is definitely a destination! You never know who will walk in the door .”
“I am one of those people who think change is good. In the case of downtown Lewisburg: I look forward to continued progress in beautification, tourism marketing, historical building improvements and community relations. Like everything in our lives, downtown Lewisburg is a work in progress. It needs to continuously evolve and change in order to keep up with the ever-changing expectations of a resident and a tourist. “
Donna Toney, Erica Hilton
“One of my daughters, Erica Hilton, is now my partner in the business. She has the same skills I do, so we agree on most issues. I am lucky to have someone who can carry forward the vision I have had…. The best part of shopping in High Country Boutique, besides the choice of products, is that I was professionally trained in Personal Styling and Erica has grown up with it.”
How does it feel to be a “boss”? “ I choose the word leader……one leads by example and receives critique by staff with an open heart and mind”
What are your thoughts on retail? “I had no idea. I love people and problem-solving and retail is just that! Full of people and full of problems, needs, and wants that folks have. So we sort out what need or want”
NEW KIDS ON THE BLOCK!
– Diana Hunt. HashtagWV #101. May 2018.