Thrift shopping inspires mom and daughter’s new business

Rachel McAuley Staff Writer

December 2, 2013

LAURINBURG — For new business owner Cyndie Woessner, her fail-safe source of stress relief — shopping at thrift stores — planted the seed for her to open her own thrift shop business with her daughter, Erika Mathews.

Walls were re-painted, wall paper was set up and racks were rearranged at the new Southern Charm Thrifts and Gifts located at 1793 South Main St., former home of Clothing and Such. The new shop sells an assortment of items like photos, toys, ornaments, jewelery, blankets, scarves, purses, bows, and clothing for men, women, and children.

Woessner had worked for 18 years as an Exceptional Children’s teaching assistant at Scotland High School when her husband fell ill and required weeks of hospitalization. With the combined stresses of her job and taking care of her husband, she knew that it was time to let teaching go and do something she really enjoyed. She asked herself: “why don’t I do what I like?”

“It just hit me,” Woessner said. “You have to do something you want to do because life is too short.”

Woessner said that she and Mathews wanted to start their own thrift shop because “it helps people during these hard times” to purchase affordable merchandise for themselves and loved ones.

In October, Woessner found the empty building where the shop is now. The size, location and price drew her to the building. After speaking with the building’s owner Tommy Williams, she rented it out and got to work.

With their family’s help, Mathews and Woessner renovated the shop in three weeks. The shop opened on Friday and Woessner said that she was pleasantly surprised at how well their first day of business turned out.

Woessner and Mathews are natives to Laurinburg, but Woessner now lives in Maxton and Mathews, who also works part time as a pharmacist and manages her own travel business, moved to Cary with her husband.

Woessner said that she’s “always loved going to thrift stores” because she liked getting good deals and it was relaxing.

Mathews helps with purchasing merchandise and plans to go down to the shop periodically. Woessner’s mother, Millie Skamperle, also gives them a helping hand in the shop when she can.

A few months ago when Mathews started talking about opening a child consignment Woessner said that they decided to collaborate together on the idea.

The mother and daughter duo came up with their business name after the initial name, “Memaw” was tested and thrown out. Mathews thought of “Southern Charm” and Woessner came up with “Thrifts and Gifts.”

“Well, we’re southern,” Woessner said, laughing. “And we try to be charming.”

Mathews and Woessner accumulate their merchandise by purchase — perusing estate sales with an eye for unique items — and by craft. A friend of Mathews’ from My Kids Laundry supplies them with handmade items like bows and clothes, and they make some of their own decorations to sell like wreaths made out of ornaments, “diaper cakes,” and Christmas bows.

Woessner said that she plans to maintain a balance between buying and making original merchandise to sell, including local vendors’ homemade items. The shop has also had taken donations. The shop, she said, was designed to be organized and clean and have a sort of boutique feel so as not to “scare anyone.”

Southern Charm Thrifts and Gifts will be open on Wednesdays through Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. or as needed. The merchandise priced at the shop ranges from $1 to $200 and everything that is put up for sale is either brand new or in gently used condition.

Woessner said that she wants her customers to feel welcome and enjoy the “journey of finding a treasure” in her shop.