Chilhowie store capitalizes on resurgence in Western wear | Local News

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Carolyn R. Wilson | For Washington County News

CHILHOWIE, Va. — With keen business acumen and a love for fashion, local entrepreneur Sheena Henderson enjoys running her Western clothing store, despite a lull in the economy.

Henderson, who opened his The Vintage Spur brick-and-mortar store in Chilhowie, Va., last year, is seeing a resurgence in Western clothing among the general population.

An arrangement of cowhide rugs, whimsical cactus metal artwork and photographs of grazing cows on the walls make western fans feel right at home in the store.

“You can pair cowboy boots with a dress or wear a hat with a pair of jeans,” Henderson said, pointing to the store’s shirts, dresses, jeans, hats and shoes, all with a Western flair.

Western clothing is very versatile, she says.

“It has become very popular in recent years. Many people who have never worn it before really like it.

“I’ve had ladies up to 70 shop with me.”

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With a lot of determination and dreams, the entrepreneur builds a business that isn’t your average Western store. She described her store as a “southern boutique with vintage charm”.

The store owner gave her clothing business a new twist when she bought a 16ft travel trailer and started selling her clothes on wheels.

She was one of hundreds of vendors when she set up as a vendor at the Nationals Finals Rodeo in Fort Worth, Texas two years ago.

“It was a really good experience,” said Henderson, who traveled with a salesman friend on the 16-hour trip to sell her merchandise from the rolling fashion store.

Since then, she continues to sell her clothes directly from inside the trailer when she sets up shop at festivals, performances and rodeos. Henderson has traveled with her clothes as far away as Bristol Rhythm & Roots and as close to home as the Chilhowie Apple Festival in town.

And for customers looking for unique clothing, Henderson has developed its own clothing brand, featuring its Vintage Spur logo on personalized items.

“I have a lot of designs that you won’t see anywhere else,” said Henderson, who works with custom artists to design her clothes.

“I like to stand out with unique hats, sweatshirts and t-shirts. I wear jeans that I don’t think anyone has here – it’s very popular with riders. My cowboy boots are unique. None of them are the same.”

To make the most of social media, the entrepreneur created what she calls Spur Babes Reps, a group of her customers who share their purchases online to help her win more customers.

She’s racked up as many as 15 reps here at home and across the country with locations as far flung as Utah.

Before Henderson opened the downtown store, she operated the business from her home in 2016, selling the clothes through her online website and social media.

She continues to operate her business online, but is convinced that more customers want a tactile experience, meaning seeing and touching goods in a physical store.

After gradually building her business online, Henderson took a leap of faith and opened the storefront.

“I had been a dental coordinator and assistant for almost 15 years and I was ready for a change,” she said.

“Business is going really well. I have no regrets,” said the owner, who is the same determined girl who climbed a horse when she was just 2 years old.

As a student at Northwood High School in Saltville, she felt comfortable wearing jeans and cowboy boots even when her friends dressed differently.

Today, she juggles between her job and her life as a wife, mother of three children and carer of horses, sheep and dogs. In addition, she recently became a Little League softball coach.

Henderson helps many of his local vendor friends by selling their wares in the store, including handmade clay jewelry, candles, local honey, dog treats and farm-raised beef.

The Vintage Spur is open from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Thursday and Friday and from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday.

Check out The Vintage Spur website at www.thevintagespur.com and follow him on the Facebook, Instagram and VIP Social pages.

Carolyn R. Wilson is a freelance writer in Glade Spring, Virginia. Contact her at [email protected]

Carolyn R. Wilson is a freelance writer in Glade Spring, Virginia. Contact her at [email protected]


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