New store brings sparkle to shopping, gift buying

Published 12:00 am Sunday, October 3, 2010

NATCHEZ — Ginger Hyland has style, no doubt, and now she is moving her style downtown.

Hyland, owner of The Towers and creator of the the Jeweled Christmas at The Towers, recently opened a gift shop, The Towers Collection, on Franklin Street in downtown Natchez.

Hyland said, after operating a small gift shop in The Towers, it became evident that people would like to take home something that reminded them of their tour.

Email newsletter signup

“Visitors at the house asked where they could get something similar to what was in the house,” Hyland said. “We would tell them about our gift shop, but now we have so much more in this shop.”

The idea of opening the shop began brewing nearly a year ago, Hyland said, but it wasn’t until early summer that she and co-owner James Wesley Forde, began really working on getting the location ready and inventory in stock.

“We talked about it, but nothing too serious, after Christmas last year,” Hyland said. “When the idea came back up, we talked some more and knew we got serious about opening just a few months ago.”

The store, located at 619 Franklin St., was transformed from a former beauty salon. Removing walls and redecorating took time and energy, but the finished product is more than enough payoff, Forde said.

“It looks now like a room you’d see at The Towers,” he said. “The colors and wallpaper are very reminiscent of the house.”

The store celebrated its grand opening Friday and Saturday, it and will continue today.

Hyland said her shop would specialize in finding one-of-a-kind items that appeal to certain buyers. Currently the store stocks beaded Christmas ornaments, handmade ornaments, beaded flowers, antique lace linens, handkerchiefs and pillows baby items, including specialty swaddling blankets and jewelry.

“My hope is, and I believe, my items are different from what other shops are carrying,” Hyland said. “I want to add something to the downtown shopping area.”

Handmade ruffled candles are one of Hyland’s favorite items in the store. She said the elegance of the candles is a step-up from traditional taper candles.

“They are handmade out of a sheet of beeswax when they are ordered,” Hyland said. “We have a variety of colors and even have some that are specifically for Christmas. I just love them.”

While shopping for inventory, Hyland kept two things in mind — originality and affordability.

Some items in the store are more expensive, but Hyland said her philosophy was simple — she wanted to make sure her store was accessible.

“I want anyone with a $20 to be able to walk out of here with a great gift,” Hyland said.

While now it is fun for Hyland and Forde to look around and enjoy the store now, it hasn’t all been easy.

Forde said since neither of them had extensive experience in the retail business, finding items to stock was tricky and getting the store ready to open was meticulous.

“I spend hours just tagging items,” Forde chuckled. “It’s time consuming, but it has to be done.”

The store will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and will be open seven days a week during special events such as Fall and Spring Pilgrimage, the Great Mississippi River Balloon Race and Christmas events.