Accessorize with elegance
The Elegant Alley Cat offers unique selection of gifts
It only took one conversation for Amy Dale and Amber Sellaro to decide to reopen The Elegant Alley Cat.
“There was no trepidation,” Sellaro said. “It was just, ‘Let’s go.’ ”
The long-time friends and former neighbors were both loyal customers when previous owner Linda Snyder ran the High Street store. And Dale worked part-time at the upscale gift shop on and off for a number of years.
“I always wanted to own the store,” Dale said. “And I told [Snyder] when she retired, I’d like to buy the store. So I did, but with a partner.”
While Dale manages the business and takes care of its day-to-day operations, Sellaro is in charge of the books and record keeping.
“It’s a natural fit,” said Sellaro, who is also a partner at the downtown law firm, Sal Sellaro Thorn Culpepper.
Because she deals with family law, which can involve “a lot of heartache, dissension and sad times,” she said it’s nice to have another business interest that revolves around people making others happy, through thoughtful gift giving.
And the partners work hard to ensure the items in The Elegant Alley Cat are one-of-a-kind.
Dale said perpetual top sellers include Papyrus cards, paper goods, decorations, wedding and engagement gifts, and Alex and Ani bracelets.
“Everyone loves them,” she said of the jewelry. “Our goal is to expand that line.”
Always on the hunt for new products, Dale said this summer the owners went to a New York show and soon they’ll head to a market in Atlanta.
“You get to see everything that’s out there that you could possibly get,” she said. “So we’ll be checking in with our current vendors, and we’ll be looking for some new items. … It’s just a continual process of trying to find what’s hot on the market and what we think will sell that we want to bring back to West Virginia.”
Some products, though, don’t have to be brought back from anywhere, as they’re created right here in the Mountain State, like the Coco and June signs made in Suncrest that Dale said the store can’t keep in stock.
“We want to support local and just keep growing the store back to where it was,” she added.
That process is a gradual one. Only the front section of The Elegant Alley cat is currently open.
“We just kind of wanted to test the waters, so to speak, and make sure that we would be successful, which I think we have been so far,” Dale said.
Eventual plans involve bringing back the store’s former baby section, and selling more purses, accessories and jewelry.
Sellaro added that products for men are also on the horizon, as well as an area for friends and family of shoppers who want to sit, relax and grab a cup of coffee.
“Another big thing we’re going to do is monogramming,” she said. “We bought a state-of-the art machine, and Amy is learning how to use it now. I think it’s going to be really nice for us to offer that service.”
The store also provides complimentary gift wrapping.
Since its inception 31 years ago, it’s personal touches such as these that Dale and Sellaro believe keeps customers returning to the shop.
“People were so excited for the re-opening,” said Sellaro, of the October function. “And we had many, many people tell us it’s their favorite store, and they were so glad we saved it.”
“To me, when I was a customer, it was always the best store in town,” Dale said. “Every time I came, I could find a gift here that I needed and it was just fun to come in the store.
“There’s always something new, and all the people who worked here in the past and present were just very helpful. That’s a big goal of ours. Customer service is No. 1. We’re not the mall. You don’t search for someone to help you. We’re here to help and find you the perfect gift.”
Location: 358 High St. Morgantown
Hours: Weekdays 10 a.m.- 5p.m.