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SC is home to new businesses with unique offerings

By Autumn D. F. Hopkins
Lawrence Pierce
Amanda Walton, co-owner of Twisted, Antiques and Oddities, poses behind the counter of her shop. On the counter is part of her collection of postmortem photos, antique medical equipment and jewelry, a sampling of the items available for sale at Twisted.
Lawrence Pierce A close up demonstration of one of the working antique violet rays for sale.
Lawrence Pierce A selection of the clothing and accessories for sale at Twisted including Lucky13 T-shirts and Folter dresses.
Lawrence Pierce On display at Twisted is a collection of antique medical equipment including stethoscopes, scalpels, syringes and forceps.
Lawrence Pierce A close-up of one of the Lucky13 T-shirts available at Twisted.
Lawrence Pierce GiGi's owner Carrie Ray, left, and a former employee pose in the store displaying several of the outfits, shoes and accessories available in the upscale consignment boutique.
Lawrence Pierce A pair of shoes on display for sale at GiGi's by high-end designer Jimmy Choo.
Lawrence Pierce A display of gently used handbags for sale at GiGi's Upscale Consignment.

SOUTH CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- In the past few months several new shopping options have opened on D Street in South Charleston, and two of them cater to women's clothing needs. The two stores, however, are on vastly different ends of the spectrum.

Amanda Walton, and her husband, Rob, sell edgy alternative clothing lines Lucky13, Sourpuss and Too Fast in their new shop, Twisted, Antiques and Oddities. But the real focus of their business is the unique antiques that Walton says you won't find in your regular antique store.

"We have postmortem pictures," said Walton. "Back in the day people didn't have money to have photos made. Often times the only pictures they had were after someone died. But they didn't want them to look deceased so they would pose them."

In addition to an assortment of postmortem pictures Twisted specializes in antique medical equipment. The small store is packed with things like antique dental/medical chairs, scalpels, poison bottles, textbooks, and quirky pieces like several working violet rays.

A violet ray is a piece of medical equipment from the early 20th century that was used to treat a variety of illnesses and conditions with electrotherapy. It worked by holding a glass tube to the body, which generated a purple arc of electricity, hence the term "violet ray."

The Waltons do research on what they obtain from estate sales, online and other antique stores. It is important to them to be knowledgeable about their inventory.

"When people ask about something in our store, we can generally give them the history of it: what it is, how long we've owned it, where we got it, what we found out about it, because we really won't buy something unless we know about it."

Walton describes South Charleston's downtown as having a "hip Rockwell" feeling, referring to the New England village scenes painted by Norman Rockwell. She says South Charleston is a great and accepting place to open a store with a unique edge.

On the other end of D Street from Twisted is another clothing store carrying a completely different line of clothing.

Carrie Ray, owner of GiGi's Upscale Consignment, offers women a little taste of luxury in all sizes, from double zero to plus.

"This way all women in the family can go to one place and shop together. That's what people really seem to like," said Ray.

The store is consignment so people bring in items and Ray sells it for them. When it sells they receive a percentage of the profit. However, she warns, "I am very particular about what I accept. It has to be name brand, it has to be in excellent condition and it can't be more than three years old."

The spacious stores holds a little bit of everything, including shoes, handbags, jewelry, swimsuits, lingerie, formal wear, casual clothes and scrubs.

Ray pointed out a particularly special pair of shoes. "They're Jimmy Choo's!" The shoes are practically brand new with no visible signs of wear. Even the leather soles are unscuffed and still clearly bear the designer label.

Each day of the week Ray offers a different discount. For example, Tuesdays are senior discount days, Wednesday shoppers who bring a recent church bulletin receive a discount and as do veterans and active military on Thursdays.

Ray said, "South Charleston is a great location. I love being here, the people are so accepting and so happy to have us here."

The best way to stay current on both stores' hours and specials is to find them on Facebook. Liking their pages will give the most up-to-date comings and goings.

Reach Autumn D.F. Hopkins at autumn.hopkins@wvgazette.com or 304-348-1249.


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