With the holidays approaching, Sophia small business owners Forest and Helen Vaught hope area residents will consider a thrifty treasure for a loved one this year.
They say downtown Sophia in Raleigh County has many businesses that are full of great treasures and folks should come down and take a look.
In October, the Vaughts took over Blessed Beyond All Treasures, a thrift store on Main Street.
The store is lined with vintage treasures like crystal, jewelry, glassware and primitive décor.
A brightly painted glass bald eagle sits atop a shelf lined with several neatly dressed vintage porcelain dolls in one corner of the room. Just beside it sits a set of six intricately ornamented Indian figurines.
“The set of six is $20,” Forest said about the unique-looking Indian figurines.
“I don’t know where those came from,” he added.
Forest then works his way to the other side of the room and points out a shelf lined with vintage Barbie dolls including what he says is a rare I Love Lucy Lucille Ball Barbie doll.
“I’m not selling them for what they’re worth, but some of them are worth $500,” Forest said.
“This is the Little Debbie Collection,” he adds, pointing out three vintage Barbies.
Those are just a handful of items the Vaughts bought from some of their customers as inventory.
“We’re not just one thing,” Helen said, as she walked around the room pointing to other interesting pieces. “We have a little bit of everything.”
Helen says she loves owning a thrift store as it’s rewarding to watch customers thrift for unique treasures.
She says she and her husband, who are both former nurse aides, have always wanted to own a store. When the opportunity presented itself, they jumped on it.
“The people down here are so nice,” she said. “I enjoy coming to work every day.”
l l l
Blessed Beyond Treasures is just one of many options consumers can hit when holiday shopping in downtown Sophia.
Other options include Stagecoach Company Store and Salon, Uptown Downtown and Advantage Sport and Pawn.
At Uptown Downtown, constomers can shop for vintage décor pieces, painted furniture, furniture paints and gift cards for do-it-yourself painting classes.
Owner Lena Belcher says she’s been in the Main Street Sophia location for about three years.
“I really like to focus on unique finds, things you’re not going to find anywhere else,” she said. “Things you can find for your home to add an extra touch.”
The shelves of Uptown Downtown are lined with unique treasures including a midcentury vintage typewriter, a chalkware nativity set from the 1950s and vintage porcelain Santa figurines from various countries.
Belcher said Sophia is a good fit for Uptown Downtown.
“It’s a really great neighborhood to have a small business. It’s a cute little street,” she said.
Just a few doors up is Advantage Sport and Pawn.
Owner Rob Cooper has been in business for 25 years. His business also offers a variety of secondhand gifts a shopper might consider for the holidays.
Advantage Sport and Pawn is lined with small and large firearms, fishing poles, jewelry and ammunition.
“Generally speaking, you can buy these firearms used and save 30 to 40 percent over buying them new,” Cooper said.
Cooper says another helpful service his business offers is holiday “loans.”
“The main thing we do that helps people is make them loans on their valuables and that might help them get their Christmas money together,” Cooper said.
And just a few doors down from Cooper’s business is the neatly decorated Stagecoach Company Store and Salon, which has been a staple in Sophia for decades.
The business offers more than just hair salon services to customers, as they can also shop for items including vintage Blenko and Fenton glassware or Fiesta products.
Stagecoach owner John Fanary encourages people to visit Sophia and said the small town has a lot to offer.
“It’s like a storybook town here,” he said. “We just pride ourselves on how we conduct business and our ethics.
“It’s just a grand little strand in Sophia.”