ROCKINGHAM — One of Richmond County’s own will realize a vision she put on hold for more than two decades on Oct. 3 when Christie’s opens in Richmond Plaza.
Christie Padgett worked in the school system for nine years and in the clerk of court’s as a juvenile clerk for the last two years, but her passion has always been home decor.
“It’s something I’ve wanted to do for the last 20 to 25 years but the timing didn’t seem right, I didn’t have enough confidence and that sort of thing,” Padgett said. “But with my husband’s encouragement and watching what the Robinette’s have done with the shopping center and it’s revitalization — we’re getting new businesses in and downtown is looking great and Richmond Plaza is really looking good — it just felt like a good time to invest.”
Padgett’s husband, Joel Padgett, didn’t want to take too much credit for the store coming together saying, “she’s the one with the talent for all this stuff,” but he was the one who came up with the name for the store — however simple it may seem to name a store after the owner — with a joke after a long day of shopping with his wife and coming up empty.
“At any of those stores where she used to go shopping, she wouldn’t ever find what she wanted,” he said. “She had to go all over the place and I told her she just needed to find a ‘Christie store’ so we can go to one place where she can get what she wants and we can go home.”
The idea first started to feel real in March when Padgett bought the stock that would initially fill the store. She said that for about about four months she and her family had to walk sideways down her hallways because there was so much stuff, but there was still a clear plan through the mess.
“Before we even had the building, I kind of knew what I wanted it to look like, the colors I wanted it to be,” she said. “I knew I wanted to carry unique items that we don’t have in this county.”
The store is a reflection of Padgett’s well-known taste, who often has friends and family ask her to decorate their homes and Christmas trees.
“This is everything she likes in the store, so hopefully she won’t have to go anywhere else,” her husband said.
Much of the inspiration for look of the store came from the lengths she would have to go to to find items to match her taste for her home, which would often require her to go to Moore County.
“I had been in plenty of boutiques, especially in the Pinehurst area, and it was very overwhelming because there’s stuff everywhere,” Padgett said. “So we wanted to create a store where, when you walk in, you can see from the front to the back of the store, there’s plenty of room to walk, you’re not overwhelmed, and we wanted to have clean lines, a bright space, inviting, welcoming and we wanted it to be very classy and elegant.
“That’s what my goal is.”
Padgett said that what will set her store apart is the personalized service. Christie’s will offer gift baskets that customers can fill themselves, and for a small fee, she will set the basket for them. Christie’s will also wrap items bought in the store for free.
“We want to be service oriented and make it as convenient for you as possible and make you want to shop,” Padgett said. “The difference between you coming into my shop and buying a platter…is you’re going to get top-notch service, plus we’re going to wrap it for you…you don’t have to do a thing.”
The store will also feature work of local artists like Shawn Weigman, known for her aluminum-monogrammed signs, as well as Padgett’s daughter-in-law, Emily Catherine’s, photography.
Though the store will primarily be a “one-woman show” once it opens, putting it together has been a joint effort between family and friends. Amanda Thurman met Padgett through her husband Mark, who is best friends with Joel Padgett. The Thurmans have been among the most involved in the store, frequently working late nights to get ready for opening day.
Thurman said that the outpouring of help is a testament to who Padgett is.
“Obviously it speaks to how sweet she is and how driven she is because a lot of us probably wouldn’t have many people coming to help, you’d be on your own,” Thurman said. “Even though she’s going to be running the day-to-day operations, it’s good that she has help when she needs it, because I’m sure it’s quite an undertaking.”
Thurman said that she will help in the store when she can in between working for the state prison, saying that the store will be an “outlet” for her as well. She had to hold back her emotions when asked what she thought of Padgett’s acheivement.
“This is a dream a lot of people have: to be self-employed, gainfully employed, be your own boss, and just doing something that is your niche in life,” Thurman said. “It’s hard to find what you’re actually meant to do and be able to facilitate it occuring, so that’s a special thing to happen and that it’s happened to our friends (the Padgetts).”
Opening day is Oct. 3, and there will be a preview of the store on Facebook Live in the preceeding days. There will be ribbon cutting the following week on Oct. 10.
“It’s scary and it’s exciting but as hard as we’ve been working and as tired as we’ve been, it’s exciting to go there everyday,” Padgett said. “It doesn’t feel like work, it’s my happy place.”
Reach Gavin Stone at 910-817-2674.