at Winey Chicks Boutique
At Winey Chicks Boutique in Forest, the phrase “Be unique at Winey Chicks Boutique” is more than a tagline; it encapsulates an integral part of the store’s business model. Owner Felecia Turner strives to change inventory as often as possible to ensure that customers, many of whom are regulars, have access to new items every time they visit.
“Our inventory changes often and we are always looking for unique items to stock in the store,” she says. “Our customers laugh and say you better get it when you see it because it will be gone if you don’t!” Customers can browse recent arrivals on Winey Chicks’ website and Facebook page.
In addition to its ever-evolving inventory, Winey Chicks also boasts a unique origin story. Turner and her husband built a garage-style building on their property in Forest and opened the store in 2014. “I opened my own store because I wanted to create a gathering place for women to come and experience something special and feel special,” she says. “I wanted to open a business that would help women in my community.”
Turner initially wondered how the business would be received, but she didn’t have to wonder for long. “Within six months of opening we were moving into our current location in the Graves Mill Shopping Center,” she says. “We began to realize the overwhelming response of the customers due to the items we carried and the customer service we provided, and we knew that we needed a space we could use for additional growth.”
Turner adds that she wouldn’t have wanted to start the business any other way. “The experience from starting small was amazing,” she says. “The customers basically told me what they wanted and needed and we grew together.”
Winey Chicks carries women’s apparel in sizes small through 3XL, accessories, shoes, and jewelry, and an expansion in April 2017 allowed for the addition of a gift department and gourmet candy counter. The store now boasts six employees and a 2,400-square-foot retail space. “The expansion took 30 days and has been a blessing since the day it opened,” Turner says. “On our gift side of the store we carry gifts, spa products, coffee, wine, gourmet candy, and home décor. We have a variety of gifts for friends, co-workers, secret sisters, and family members.”
Items created by both local artisans and more distant artisans who attend trade shows are available for purchase at the boutique. Turner makes it a point to select items with her customers in mind.
“My inspiration for what we pick for the store comes from our customers,” she says. “Our customers may mention that they are looking for something, and we will try to find it or something like it. We follow trends but always try to add something special that will make you stand out in a crowd.”
This focus on customer satisfaction is evident in the overwhelmingly positive online reviews of Winey Chicks. Furthermore, in addition to taking customer requests into consideration when ordering items, Turner also strives to forge meaningful relationships with those who visit the store. “Our customers become our friends,” she says. “We are here to help them find their unique style, and we are also here for them if they want to talk or just need a hug. We truly treat everyone the same and hope that they feel that when they come in. Our philosophy is simple: treat everyone with respect and love everyone!”
As is likely the case with many small business owners, Turner says that the most difficult aspect of her job is balancing home and work life. That said, she notes that her husband is “one hundred percent supportive of Winey Chicks and because of that the challenging things seem easier.” Of the many rewarding aspects of her job, Turner says that seeing customers stopping by wearing items they bought at Winey Chicks is her favorite. “We love it when Winey Chicks come to Winey Chicks wearing Winey Chicks!” she exclaims. “We have so many customers who will just pop in and show us what they are wearing, and that thrills my soul!”
Turner indicates that an addition to the boutique is coming in the near future and that it will be “exactly what Forest needs.” In the meantime, she looks forward to continuing to serve the Forest and surrounding communities by bringing people together and helping women look and feel their best. “I know that in Winey Chicks we have created a sense of family and community,” she says. “I truly feel that small businesses like Winey Chicks are important to communities like Forest to help them stay connected. Friends, old classmates, and churchgoers tend to run into each other and socialize. It melts my heart when I see people run into someone they know and share hugs and stories. It’s like a family reunion in our store every day.”
AT A GLANCE
Located: 18013 Forest Rd. Suite A03, Forest
Signs of Growth: Expanded store in 2017, Gold winner in “Best Women’s Clothing” and “Best Gift & Specialty” for Lynchburg Living Readers’ Choice Awards