Cyndi’s Fashions offers unique & stylish clothing and accessories
VINTON - Tucked in among the other locally owned businesses on Lee Ave. in Vinton is a unique women’s clothing store, Cyndi’s Fashions. The store offers both new and consignment clothing, with an emphasis on plenty of stylish “bling.” “I match up jewelry to go with the clothing but I usually only have one jewelry item per piece so that you don’t buy this and then see your girlfriend has the exact same thing,” explained owner Cyndi Baker with an excited flash of her hands.
Her attitude is catchy in the store where “there is no such thing as a stranger” and she encourages people seeking accessories to bring in their own clothing and “come be Cyndi-fied!” As people mingle about the store she is quick to show them this or that, and soon the customers have begun chatting amongst themselves, even if they hadn’t met before, showing off items found with the glee of young schoolgirls.
Baker and her mother, Lois Mays, opened the store, then known as “Best of Two Worlds” in April of 1982, 28 years ago. “We wanted the store to be half new clothing and half consignment” said Baker. The store was located on Walnut Ave. in Vinton until the flood of ’85 forced them to relocate to a location on Virginia Ave, where National Optic now stands. They were there for approximately 12 years before the building was sold and they moved to Williamson Rd. in Roanoke, where they stayed for two or three years. It was while there that Mays was ready to retire and Baker found herself longing to be back in Vinton.
“I went to the Dogwood for breakfast one morning,” recalled Baker, ”and a guy was putting up a ‘For Rent’ sign in the window” at 116 E. Lee St. “and the rest, as they say, is history.”
The store carries sizes small-XL as well as a small selection of plus sizes. Baker is picky about the consignment items she allows into the store, wanting the front & back of the store to match in style, and considers the quality of consignment to be more “name brand consignment” items. Indeed, it is hard to tell what is new and what is consignment in the store simply by looking at the items, all are equally stylish and chic, and of course “Cyndi-fied” with accessories and bling.
Despite its long history in Vinton the store has just become the 250th member of Vinton’s Chamber of Commerce. When asked what made her, after all these years, decide to become a member Baker answers simply “Angie” – referring to Angie Chewning Lewis, the Executive Director for the Chamber. “I like her enthusiasm,” said Baker of Lewis. “She’s young and she brings a different atmosphere with her to the Chamber. She’s been willing to help me even though I wasn’t a Chamber member. She came in here and shopped and put photos of my store on Facebook. I think her enthusiasm will help more people to learn about Vinton and the stores and businesses that are here. A lot of people live in Vinton but they don’t even know I’m here. Word of mouth is my best advertiser.”
Though this has been the store’s hardest year, with the economy finally hitting them in September, Baker remains optimistic, noting that on recent weekends the store has been filled with new faces, friends waiting to be made. To go along with the spirit of the season, everything in the store, both new items and consignment items, is marked 25% off the original price tag.
Cyndi’s Fashions is open Tuesday through Friday 9:30 am – 5pm and Saturdays 9:30 – 2pm, though Baker is known to keep closing hours on Saturdays flexible depending on foot traffic. The store’s phone number is 857-0200.
Story by Carrie E. Cox