By LEIGH C. MERRIFIELD
News & Journal Editor
Open now for about a month at 417 Pike Street is Shinnston’s newest business – Small Town Outfitters. For its owner, Kristy Maxwell, this is not her first business experience; however, it is her first time in the retail business.
Because part of her background was in the oil and gas business, she is familiar with OSHA compliance regarding apparel requirements such as flame-retardant (FR) clothing and in some industrial/construction areas, reflective clothing is a necessity as well. After moving here where her husband had roots, she became aware of a need for a source for these items … and Small Town Outfitters fills that need.
Kristy located a vacant storefront and spent lots of time and ‘elbow grease’ working to set up the right shop atmosphere. Ripping up carpet and refinishing original floors was the most time-consuming task, she admits, but also gave her the rustic appearance she was looking for. Some display racks, too, have an industrial look while other displays are hand-fashioned of wood pallets and even a chair attached to the wall offers display space.
“I am a frequent visitor to Pinterest pages on the internet where I’ve found lots of unique ways to repurpose things for business use,” she stated.
Those who work in the oil and gas industry, the coal industry and in construction will appreciate having a local source for clothing such as FR pants and shirts, reflective outerwear, welders’ caps, dri-fit shirts made of moisture wicking fabric … even hard hat racks! But don’t think this is just a shop for men.
“I felt it was important not to give the impression that my store was exclusively for construction workers,” Kristy said. “I didn’t want to pigeonhole myself that way; I wanted to stock some products that would attract everyone. I carry a few new lines like Mud Thumpin’, Buck Wear and Country Life that are for both men and women.”
Some kids’ clothing is also available at Small Town Outfitters as well as items that appeal to women such as flip flops, purses, bathing suits, earrings, etc.
Remember the old JR Watkins products? The company had very humble beginnings more than a century ago, offering natural apothecary items such as a liniment that was a one-of-a-kind pain reliever that was sold door to door. This trademark is still around and has grown through the years to include salves, extracts, spices, soaps, lotions, home fragrances, BBQ sauce, and even gourmet seasoning packets. All of these products are available at Small Town Outfitters too … along with pet treats, beef jerky and gluten-free fruit stix!
Kristy says she is not through stocking her shelves yet! “I’ve got more merchandise that is backordered but will be on its way soon. And my future plans include carrying bow and hunting accessories too.”
As a new retail shop owner in Shinnston, Kristy has been promoting her business by dropping off coupons in some other local stores, and she has set up a facebook page (facebook.com/smalltownoutfitterswv) if you’d like to learn more.
Although she says she wasn’t at first looking forward to moving to a new locale, she is enjoying Shinnston. “The drawing card for me,” she says, “was finding such a small and friendly community with lots of unique specialty shops in the downtown area. I feel that Small Town Outfitters has found its niche here.”
The store is open on Mondays from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Wednesdays and Fridays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., and on Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Small Town Outfitters accepts all major credit cards and can be reached by calling 304-592-5427.