As spring breaths news life into the High Country, new life has also been breathed into West Jefferson with the arrival of several new businesses as the 2013 tourist season kicks off.
“I think there’s a vibe about town that’s really exciting,” said Terri Filipski, the co-owner of Carolina Country Wines, a new business in West Jefferson that sells wine, cheese and olive oil.
In all, nine new businesses have opened, or are planning to open, in downtown West Jefferson.
“It’s very positive,” said Cabot Hamilton about the influx of new businesses.
“They all fit in with the area and should help tourism development significantly,” said Hamilton. He also said these new businesses should help “fill in the gaps” in the town.
“I think it’s a good fit,” said Bobby Scarlett, owner of Scarlett Creek, about his new business. Scarlett Creek is a sells a diverse set of nick nacks, Christmas decorations and Vera Bradley handbags.
New business owners also said each new business fills in a certain niche in the town, meaning they shouldn’t poach customers from each other.
“There’s variety now,” said Talara Parrish, the co-owner of Everything Has a Story.
Everything Has a Story promotes local artisans by setting some firm rules for the merchandise they offer. The first rule is that everything in the store must be handmade. Also, vendors must be born and raised in the Blue Ridge Mountains, the items need to result from a family trade, and the items need to be reminiscent of the vendor’s childhood.
According to Parrish, the store operates on a consignment basis. As of Friday, Everything Has a Story carries merchandise from 98 local vendors.
“Everything Has a Story is different than everything else in the High Country,” said Parrish, confident in her business’s niche in West Jefferson.
Local auctioneer Russell Killen is also opening a new business next to West Jefferson Town Hall that will be called “It Might Be,” a play on words of a line Killen uses while auctioning antiques.
“It’s not just another antiques store,” said Suzanne Keeys, a family friend of Killen. Some items are for sale, and some items will be auctioned off weekly on Friday nights, in conjunction with West Jefferson’s gallery crawl.
Other new businesses in West Jefferson include the Candy Shack, a cafe/mercantile, Mo’s Boots, the Vintage Locket, a boutique and gift shop located across from Parkway Theater, Hotel Tavern, and a new jewelry store, Perry’s Fine Antique & Estate Jewelry, will also be opening soon.