For Christy Hoover, owner of Christy Concept Jewelry, shopping is more than just making a purchase.
Hoover’s unique boutique at the West Shore Farmers Market in Lemoyne makes it a leisurely getaway.
“You have to give customers an experience. You can’t do it on product alone,” said Hoover, a New Cumberland resident. “I want our customers to feel comfortable here and feel they can trust us. I want them to come back, to feel wowed and have fun.”
Christy Concept Jewelry is one of those places that has something for everyone, or, at least, pretty darned close to it. It feels comfortable and friendly and has oodles of sparkly wonders to catch your eye. Its vast inventory of fine and fashion jewelry features one-of-a-kind items crafted by more than 40 designers from around the world. Prices carry a wide range from $20 to up $15,000.
“It’s a great place, especially for gifts,” said Ginny Smith, a regular customer. “I can find some more unique pieces that are in a reasonable price range. I love the atmosphere there, too. It’s a beautiful store.”
Nobody’s in a hurry at Christy Concept Jewelry. Customers are encouraged to browse around for as long as they want. In fact, many items are kept on open display.
“I like the store. It’s very welcoming,” said Beth Kuehne, another regular. “They let you try things on. Some other places won’t let you. They’re very accommodating, and there’s no pressure, either. You can go in there and just walk around. It’s kind of cozy, a nice experience.”
Hoover, a Harrisburg native, said that she was inspired to pursue fashion by her mother Nedalyn, a skilled seamstress. She began her first job in retail at Pomeroy’s department store while earning a bachelor’s degree in fashion merchandising from Indiana University of Pennsylvania.
After college, she worked as a buyer for junior dresses and outerwear at Hess’s department store in Allentown. She then moved cross-country to become a regional manager for Contempo Casuals/Wet Seal/Arden B, based in San Francisco. For this, Hoover oversaw stores in the company’s Pacific Northwest region comprising nine states.
Ten years later, Hoover returned home to Pennsylvania after her mother became ill. For the next 21 years, she worked for the Victoria’s Secret brand in several capacities, including district manager, a project manager in store operations and a regional HR manager.
All that changed, however, when Hoover learned that Susan Fotos, owner of Higashi Jewelry & Eyewear, decided to retire and close up her popular shop inside the West Shore Farmers Market.
“I loved working for the Victoria’s Secret brand, but I’d always thought about doing something on my own,” Hoover said. “The stars were aligned for me, you might say, after 21 years.”
Senior jewelry consultant, Nicole Warden, also knows a thing or two about how things were done at Higashi. Prior to her full-time post at Christy Concept Jewelry, Warden worked sales at Higashi for four years. Before that, she spent 12 years working the field with various jewelers.
Christy Concept Jewelry is a venue that truly stands out to Warden.
“This business is different,” she said. “We’re offering really nice jewelry at discount prices. Some of our designers offer us really nice discounts, and then we pass that on to our customers.”
Rounding out the staff are part-time jewelry consultants Hannah Ardnt and Fabiola Sallack.
Hoover’s biggest challenge, so far, has been the commonwealth’s pandemic orders that forced her to close in March, just four months after opening, she said. She remained closed until June.
“I look at that as a blessing, really,” she said. “After just four months, I got to learn a few things sooner rather than later. It taught me about being able to protect your business with a cushion. I put all my profit right back into my business.”
Hoover said that she is proud to be one of many women-owned businesses operating at the West Shore Farmers Market
“I really enjoy sharing our experiences and the camaraderie between us,” she said. “We really pick each other up.”
Christy Concept Jewelry is located at the West Shore Farmers Market, 900 Market St., Lemoyne. For more information, call 717-303-26277 or visit www.christyconceptjewelry.com or their Facebook page.
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