New York City is the undisputed fashion capital of the United States. It’s a mecca for major designers and up-and-comers alike. As a child, Deva Wagner strolled the NYC streets with her grandmother. They would visit the best boutiques and take in all the incredible sights. Coming from West Virginia, these childhood trips opened Deva’s world to cool neighborhoods, international foods, buzzy brands, and the latest fashion. Years later, Wolf Creek Gallery in downtown Lewisburg would fall into Deva’s hands. Since 1994, she has invested thousands of hours into this creative store to offer the coolest up-and-coming brands that have people stopping her clients in the streets. The store offers a selection of carefully curated items, including women’s apparel and accessories, footwear, jewelry, home décor, bath & beauty, as well as greeting cards and gifts. As a bonus, there are plenty of great breakfast and lunch spots nearby, so you can make a whole day of it. Learn more with our interview with Deva:
When did Wolf Creek open?
Wolf Creek, in its current location, opened in 1994. I was fresh out of college and hired to manage the shop. At that time we specialized in T-shirts and sterling silver jewelry. Four years later, in 1998, I was given the opportunity to buy the business.
What inspired you to open this store and establish it in downtown Lewisburg?
The previous owners, Richard and Vivian Pranulis, are the artists who started Wolf Creek Printery and the Wolf Creek Calendar. They gave me free range with the shop and allowed me to exercise my creativity. I really put my heart and soul into the store before it was technically my own. I was raised here in West Virginia so it’s very much a blessing for me to be able to own and operate a business in the town where I grew up. Lewisburg has evolved so much over the past 25 years and I am proud to be a part of that growth.
Why did you choose this industry?
I didn’t choose this industry, it chose me! I have a business degree because I had no idea “what I wanted to do when I grew up”. It was completely by chance (fate) that I ended up in fashion retail. In retrospect, fashion specifically clothing, shoes, and jewelry have always been my passion. When I was a little girl my grandmother would take me shopping in New York City and it was the highlight of my little life each time we visited.
What is your favorite part about running this store?
My favorite part has always been the process of finding new merchandise for the shop and then watching it all come together into a carefully curated space. This happens store wide twice a year August/September for Fall and March/April for Spring. We keep new merchandise flowing through on a regular basis. I believe that to be successful as a small retail store you have to keep your inventory fresh and interesting. The majority of my ordering is done 4 to 6 months in advance so when it all comes together and I hear my customers’ approval, I feel like I’ve done my job.
What are your store’s best qualities?
At Wolf Creek I am always looking to provide customers with a selection of clothing, shoes, jewelry and gifts that are high-quality, stylish, comfortable and useable. The best compliment I can get is when a customer returns and tells me how many compliments they received on an item that they purchased from me ….or how much they love the shoes they bought….or how happy the recipient of the gift they purchased was. We don’t sell just to make the sale. We sell to make our customers happy, feeling good, looking good and satisfied with the purchase. In my opinion that is how you keep your customers happy. Our local clients are the foundation of our business. That’s who I buy for. I buy what I like. Each item I put in my shop is something I believe in. Customers come back when they feel like they have had a positive experience. Quality, variety, appealing merchandise, and friendly staff. That’s what keeps people coming in the doors.
What brands and types of items do you carry?
I tried to find items that are unique to my store in the area. Things you can’t just find anywhere. We carry too many brands to mention. Clothing, accessories, jewelry, shoes, bath and beauty products, candles, home Decor, as well as special occasion items. I’ve dabbled in just about everything you can think of over the past 20+ years.
How does Wolf Creek stand out from other retailers in the area?
Wolf Creek stands out because we, like the other shops downtown, pride ourselves with stocking the shop with a unique product selection. All of my displays are upcycled and recycled. I love finding old display pieces and putting them to use. Over the years I’ve acquired quite a collection of displays from shops that have closed. Makes for an interesting decor.
Pictured above: Deva Wagner
If you haven’t peeped this shop’s goodies yet, you’re in for a treat. With its wide selection of curated items, you’re sure to find something Insta-worthy to take home with you. The shop is open every day. Mon-Sat: 10a-6p and Sun 12p-5pm. It is located at 967 Washington St. W. (across from Lewisburg City Hall). For more info, call 645-5270 and follow on fb to see new merchandise posted almost daily @downtownlewisburgwv.
– HashtagWV #106. October 2018. Photos of Cami Wagner by @arielfaithburks on instagram,
HashtagWV Art & Entertainment is a high-quality print and digital multimedia platform for all things West Virginia and the greater Appalachian region. The editorial focus is local music, unique shopping, the arts, events, theatre, and food and drinks. tiktok.com/@hashtagwv