CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- She may have a Kate Spade coat and a Vera Wang dress on the display racks, just don't describe SavvyChic as an upscale boutique and consignment shop.
Deborah Patton made it clear that she wants her new shop on Quarrier Street to attract all walks of life.
She gestured toward a rack of coats. "There's leather, suede, coats for high school kids, business suits. I want everybody to be comfortable shopping here," she said.
Patton opened her shop Nov. 2 in the space beside the House of Luxe that once contained Oberlin's clothing store.
At age 52, she said she is finally doing what she has always loved -- working in clothes and fashion.
She moved to Charleston two years ago when her husband, Charles, was named president and chief operating officer of Appalachian Power. Her daughter, Danielle, just graduated from college and is living in Atlanta. Son David is a senior at George Washington High School.
"Now that we're stable and not moving again, it's finally time to do what Deborah wants to do," she said.
She worked in retail during and after college, and has helped others start up businesses. She was used to living in cities that had more than one large mall and lots of small, trendy boutiques. She said she saw a niche here for a shop that offered a variety of items at reasonable prices.
SavvyChic is unique, she said, in that it offers new merchandise carefully chosen on buying trips to New York, Atlanta and Dallas as well as gently used consignment pieces obtained in Charleston and eight other cities.
"We'll do closet revamps," Patton said. "We'll go through your closet with you and take the consignment items to the shop or will package the items to take to donate."
If a customer isn't interested in selling her clothes, Patton said SavvyChic will sell them and use the proceeds to donate to a charity, such as a women's shelter or food bank. The customer receives a tax write-off for making the donation.
"Our mantra is to give back," she said.
She explained how the consignment system works. Lady X drops off items -- clothes, shoes, hats, purses, jewelry, scarves -- and gets a receipt for the number left. Patton then gets on her computer and researches online sites to determine the value of the piece and to set a selling price.