By Wendy Holdren
“Every girl, regardless of her budget and regardless of her size, needs to be treated like they look amazing.”
That’s the motto at the newly expanded pageant, prom and accessories shop, Fit for a Queen.
Owners Angie Pannell and Kristi Atha-Rader actually met several years ago in a dress store while shopping for their upcoming competition — Miss West Virginia.
“I had gone in and found a dress I loved,” Pannell said. “I came back two weeks later, only to find that Kristi was signing the check that she had just bought it. I told her it was lovely to meet her, but we would never be friends because she just bought my dress.”
That little dress incident turned out to be the beginning of a beautiful friendship, as the two competed together that weekend, had a great time and have been close friends ever since.
“We have directed pageants, coached and competed,” Pannell said. “This was just the next step in our love for pageantry and everything that sparkles and glitters.”
Pannell got her start in pageants in her 20s and Atha-Rader started in her teens; both women have held several titles.
“It’s the way that it pushes you to be better. It’s a really strange woman that will stand in front of a panel of judges and ask to be scored.”
She said being rated and scrutinized is a personal challenge, but she finds it exciting.
“It’s a real opportunity to grow as a person. You make amazing friends, you have a great time, you get a killer wardrobe. It’s a win for everybody.”
Pannell and Atha-Rader actually opened Fit for a Queen a year ago, in the same location, but in a smaller portion of space.
They subleased the space from Vintage Lifestyles, but when it went out of business, Fit for a Queen took over the entire store.
Fit for a Queen offers dress names including Sherri Hill, Jovani, Party Time and Jasz Couture.
They offer all sizes, from toddlers through adults.
Also available are Johnathan Kayne shoes and a whole line of jewelry.
Pannell said they have anything stageworthy that you’ll need for pageants or accessories for prom.
“Because we started out as customers, we remember what it’s like and how you need to be treated when you come into a store. Every girl, regardless of their budget and regardless of their size, needs to be treated like they look amazing.”
She said they have an array of dress styles that are sure to flatter every body type.
“You deserve to feel comfortable and that’s what our store does. We’re very down to earth. We hope that you buy your dress from us, but we want you to remember the experience and keep coming back.”
In addition to a huge selection of brand new dresses, Pannell said Fit for a Queen also takes consignment dresses.
“We’re really selective about the gowns we take because we want every purchase that a girl makes to feel like it’s new and it’s special. There’s a really nice selection of great priced, but high-end gowns in our store.”
Fit for a Queen is located at 215 North Eisenhower Drive.
Store hours are Monday through Friday from noon to 6 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m.
For more information, call 304-890-4979.
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