Two longtime collectors cleaned out their guest rooms and garages to open the Gypsy Chicks Thrift Boutique in Chattaroy at the end of July.
The two have been running a weekend flea market in the parking lot at 4211 E. Westwood Ave. and noticed the available space in the strip mall next to a bar. On a whim they decided to rent the space and open a store.
“It had always been my dream,” said Jade Blankenship. “It was my grandmother’s dream first. I wanted to do this for her.”
“It was either this or a coffee shop,” said Andrea Johnson.
The small shop is packed with everything from paintings to lamps to shoes. One wall is lined with clothing and knick knacks, dishes, books and DVD’s fill the shelves. Blankenship, who likes to find vintage items to sell, makes jewelry that is also for sale.
The women were so excited to move into the space that they hauled in 30 totes of merchandise – before they had their displays and furniture set up. The store is still being organized. “We still don’t have the prices on everything,” said Blankenship. “They’re in our head.”
Some items have been donated to the shop, but the two have spent years haunting yard sales, estate sales and auctions. “Sometimes we stop at certain thrift stores and get their closeouts,” Blankenship said.
“We find stuff everywhere,” Johnson said.
Someone recently donated a few prom dresses and Blankenship said they’d like to put together a collection of prom dresses and tuxes that can be given to local teens in need. “It would be so nice if we could have something like that around here,” she said.
Though the store is full, people should expect to see new things regularly. Both women still have boxes and boxes of items waiting in storage. “I’ve got totes and more totes,” Johnson said. “Most of the stuff has been in and out of my house.”
Meanwhile, there’s a Raggedy Ann doll to be had, along with stuffed animals, purses and random gems like a 1940s-era Kodak camera. There’s also a coffeepot by the front door so people can sip some coffee or tea while they browse.
On a recent day Jennifer Sorensen dropped in to check out the new store, having seen information about it on Facebook. She bought several lace doilies and a pet bed after a few minutes of browsing.
“It’s nice,” she said. “Lots of great stuff. I’m sure I’ll be back.”
The store is open Tuesday through Saturday.
“We tried to be open on Sunday but it just didn’t work,” Blankenship said. “No one showed up.”
They are also still running the flea market, which is open in the parking lot every Saturday from April to September.
The women say their different styles compliment each other. Johnson handles the bookkeeping and other paperwork while Blankenship focuses on her creative side.
“I do the froufrou part, she does the business part,” Blankenship said. “We compliment each other really well.”
Blankenship is also good at organizing and arranging the store, Johnson said. “If it weren’t for her, it would be chaos,” she said.
The prices are reasonable and both women said they’re willing to dicker a bit on prices. “We offer the lowest prices you will ever find,” Johnson said.