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Mountain Scene: Downtown Gets a Groovy Boutique. An Interview w/ Willow + Ryan

Beautiful and vibrant downtown Lewisburg, WV has recently become home to a creative and free-spirited store obsessed with imagination. Three short years ago, we featured this shop when they moved to Jefferson Plaza, located beside Fujiyama aka the sushi place. The store is Willow and Ryan’s Unique Boutique, owned and operated by Willow and Ryan. Most recently, they moved their store to S. Jefferson Street beside Blackwell’s Catering aka the PIZZA PLACE (formerly GVBC). Willow and Ryan’s boutique carries a large selection of disc golfs and uncommon gifts such as gemstone jewelry, body jewelry, artistic collectibles, incense, groovy clothing, tapestries, statuary, fragrance oils, crystals and mineral specimens, and fun items for kids. Learn more about their shop and their new groovy location, how they feel about the recent move, what it’s like to be self-employed, and words they would like to share with you in our Q&A:

How long have you been in business? The UB has been in business for three years, but the foundation was put in place another lifetime ago. I started Willow’s World of Jewels in 1992,  and had a store in South Charleston in the mid-90s. A love for gemstones and jewelry making has been in our blood for years.

What inspired you to open Unique Boutique? A Unique set of circumstances precipitated us opening our store, after decades of working in the jewelry/gemstone/cool stuff retail industry. For all the hard work that is required to own one’s own business, the payoff of having the flexibility to manage life situations as they arise is worth the time and effort put in. Being one’s own boss is quite magnificent, and allows us a type of freedom not found in most jobs.

Tell us about your new building and its history. This building is really quite groovy in of itself. It’s definitely not a cookie-cutter box store. We like to say, We got OUT of the Box. To our best knowledge, this building was purpose-built as an ABC (liquor, y’all) store in 1959, with the American Legion as owners, with their hall upstairs. We think we are the only building in town with bars on the window, other than the jail, haha. There also is a iron gate across the back door, so we certainly feel very secure here. In 1990, the state of WV allowed private businesses to sell alcohol, so the contents were sold to The Loft in Fairlea. Interesting detail- if you notice, The Loft was built to face oncoming traffic on Rt 219 north-bound, as that the building’s erection coincided with Rt 219 becoming a one-way road in Fairlea. Since then, it housed RadioShack/ Gary’s Electronics, a church, and a yoga studio. Now it’s a great space to house the Unique Boutique.

What do you love most about moving your shop to downtown Lewisburg? Well, a bigger space in a better location for less rent is definitely a plus, lol. But really, here’s the thing about downtown Lewisburg- the energy and pace of downtown is much more suited for a business like ours.  One of the things we noticed immediately when we moved downtown is just how much more friendlier folks are in town. It seems like everybody has a smile on their face, and the vibe is quite kind and uplifting. It’s really fun to talk with our local friends, and meet tourists who truly come from all over the globe to visit the beautiful Appalachian Mountains.

What do you sell and what are some of your most popular items? We like to say that the UB is Your Source for Meaningful Gifts. We carry items that aren’t found in other local stores- Cool Hippy Clothing, Gorgeous Gemstone Jewelry, Body Jewelry, 3D tapestries, fun statuary (dragons and fairies, oh my!) , and over 100 varieties of incense, along with incense burners. We also carry work by local artisans; We have exquisite soaps crafted by Shelby Fury, intricate tie-dyes from Jessica Wilson of Dyes4Daze, wire sculpture by John Bishop of Haywire Flyer, Copper Bracelets by Dan Shaffer, and Art Glass made by Ronceverte’s own Discrete Snow Leopard.

What disc golf brands do you carry? How many disc golf courses are in the area? We currently have in stock Discraft, Prodigy, and the entire line of Dynamic discs. We also carry our local legend Charles Dalton’s hand-dyes discs, know as Dalton’s Disc’s on FB. He uses MVP discs for his creations. Disc Golf certainly is a growing sport in out area. there are currently two public 18-hole courses in the area, at the Greenbrier State Forest and at the Free parking area at the WV State Fairgrounds, and a private course in Renick at Turner Disc Golf Farm (which is challenging and exquisitely well laid out and beautiful). There is also a nine-hole course at Montwell Park in downtown Lewisburg. New courses are currently being designed and implemented by Drew Young in Charmco and the Greenbrier County Recreational area being developed on Harper Road.

What would you like to personally say to our readers? Our customers make our business enjoyable and worthwhile. It’s really quite awesome to have this opportunity to meet exceptional folks, and develop relationships with the most beautiful souls imaginable. Thank you for your continued support! We look forward to embracing the downtown Lewisburg atmosphere, and meeting new customers and friends for a long time to come.

Above: Willow in front of the store, located on Rt 219 S. in downtown Lewisburg.

Stop in Willow and Ryan’s Unique Boutique on your next visit to downtown Lewisburg. They are located at 818 S. Jefferson St. For more information, call them at 304-667-4548. They are currently accepting special orders with a down payment of half of the price of the item and also offering layaways with 20% down payment and 90 day term.

– HashtagWV #115. July 2019.

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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

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