Propounding a theory on its website that “retail therapy is cheaper than a psychiatrist,” a new boutique containing a curated, eclectic collection of women’s designer fashions and accessories opened its doors officially in the Elk City District of Charleston this week.
218 hosted a grand opening and ribbon-cutting event to welcome new and current customers to its 213 Washington St. W., location. The ribbon was snipped — by design — at 2:18 p.m. on Tuesday, Feb. 18 (aka 2/18).
218 intends to build its particular brand of retail therapy services on the West Side — and worldwide — by showcasing modern and affordable styles accommodating a variety of tastes, budgets and sizes. Among the many brand names in the 218 wardrobe inventory are Ted Baker, Blaque Label, Rachel Pally, Champagne & Strawberry, Love Stitch, Young Fabulous & Broke, Aquiesse Home Fragrance, Barr & Co. and Noodle & Boo. Along with dresses, 218 offers shoes, sweaters, scarves, handbags, jewelry, premium denim and other apparel and accessories.
“I’ve always had a real love for fashion,” 218 owner and manager April Showen said. The Charleston native and current West Side resident studied design at West Liberty University and opened the original 218 boutique six years ago in Jackson County.
“I started a store in Ripley and tried to figure out what I wanted to do and get a good handle on what works and what doesn’t,” Showen explained. “I’ve always wanted to be in Charleston, because I live here, and I was waiting for the right space to open up. I wanted to be in the Elk City area. I just love the feel down here. I love that it’s artistic. The energy’s really good. There are so many locally owned businesses down here and I wanted to be a part of that.”
Showen found her sought-after space with the assistance of Stephen Duffield and Bob Herrick of the nearby Winter Floral and Antiques store. “They’re friends of mine, and they asked me to come down, take a peek at this building and give them some ideas,” she said. “I looked at it and said, ‘This is my space. This is the space I’m looking for.’ We worked on it together for a little while; they did the bulk of all of the construction and I built out the rest for myself.”
218 opened for business at its Elk City location two months ago, Showen said.
“We’re a women-focused boutique. We’re multiprice, with sizes ranging from extra small to 3x, sometimes 4x,” she said. “We have a volume line. Most of our store, right now, is extra small to extra large. We try to make sure we have something for everyone.”
Many of the accessories 218 sells are sourced from women-owned companies, such as Femme Faire from Canada and small businesses in Texas, Washington and other locales.
“It’s multibrand,” Stowen said, “basically, serving you from casual to cocktail, and we’re going to add eveningwear soon.
“We help you style here and we give you a personalized experience,” she added. “Most of my clients become my friends, and that’s what we hope to have here in Elk City, too.”
Gift cards are available at 218. Domestic and international shipping is available as well.
218’s business hours are 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday through Saturday.
The Ripley 218 boutique is located at 218 Main St. Its hours of operation are noon to 7 p.m. Tuesday, Thursday and Friday and noon to 5 p.m. Saturday. The telephone number there is 304-786-1221.