Tag Archives: grandin

Shop Girl: Ashley from Urban Gypsy

Why did you start Urban Gypsy?
I’ve been in the business for years and you reach a point where you build your confidence and you say, “I can do this!” You kind of want to project your sense of style and where you’ve been, and help others build their confidence and find their own style.

What do you love most about your job?
There’s no greater feeling than walking down the street and seeing someone rock an outfit that you have put on them. I’m also incredibly fortunate to have each one of my girls on the staff. You can’t get anywhere in life solo. I come up with some really crazy ideas whether its windows, events, volunteering, and they just kind of go with it.

How did you decide on Grandin Village for Urban Gypsy’s location?It was just this quaint neighborhood that I wanted to be part of, and I saw the potential of growth. It’s given me a sense of community. I love the people. It’s nice to just walk down the street, know practically everyone, and know they are rooting for you.

What is your favorite quote as a business owner?
“This too shall pass.” Whether it’s a trend that I cringe over or just a really bad day. My grandfather is my biggest inspiration, and maybe that’s where I get that from. He perseveres through every type of obstacle, and he has taught me strength.

What else inspires you?
I’m inspired by random acts of kindness. I take them as a sign that there is still humanity out there.

What are you excited about for fall?
Bright colors, sweater weather, and our redesigned website! This will be like a second store. There will be website exclusives that you can only get online, so be sure to check it out: www.urbangypsyva.com

Meet Erica Snipes of Imagination Station!

When did you decide to start working for Imagination Station?
I needed a fun part-time job, and I have a twelve-year-old so we spent a lot of time in the toy store in Blacksburg. The owner put up a notice and said she was looking for help, so I decided that was a sign! Then, about half a year after I started working for them we decided we were going to move to Roanoke so my daughter could go to school here. The owner asked if I wanted to manage a toy store in Roanoke if they opened one. I thought about it, and a couple months later I said I would do it.

What is one important lesson that you’ve learned along the way as a manager?
Unlike some other retail businesses, you are growing up with the families and the kids. Establishing a relationship is really important. We are more than a place to come and shop. Upstairs we have a room that has toys, games, and books that we call our “chill out” room. You can just hang out; you don’t have to buy something. Go to Cups, grab a coffee, and bring your kids here.

With the technology we have available, why is this type of imaginative play still so important?
We are passionate about helping parents, caregivers, and teachers find ways to keep children engaged. With the advent of technology, it is so easy for all of us as caregivers to just hand over the cell phone or the iPad. There needs to be more tactile person-to-person play. For example, building blocks used to be the core of play. Everybody had building blocks, but people don’t really buy them anymore because they have so many pieces. They say their child doesn’t really know what to do with them. However, they need to be bored and build something because it helps with learning physics, gravity, and trial and error.

Find Imagination Station at www.imaginationstoys.com.