Owner Lisa Smith’s explanation for the Quality Shop’s hours of operation offer a glimpse into what the longtime Roanoke Rapids favorite in women’s clothing and accessories is all about while also showcasing the advantages of brick and mortar in the age of online shopping.
The Quality Shop, established in 1904, is closed on Sunday and Monday, open Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Wednesday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Well, that doesn’t entirely cover it.
“We can actually be open any time if somebody wants to shop,” Smith said.
Now that’s customer service.
“Sometimes we have customers that come from out of state,” Smith said. “They may be here visiting and they are only here Sunday and Monday, so we’ll meet them down at the store and just let them shop. That’s not a problem at all.”
Customer service is a recurring theme for Smith when describing the “unique boutique" at 1022 Roanoke Avenue that was owned by the Shell family for more than a century before Smith purchased it in 2015.
That means one-on-one service. It means checking in on customers, especially ones that haven’t been around as much since COVID-19 struck, initially forcing the Quality Shop’s closure for six weeks.
Customer service also means occasionally lending a helping hand to the customers’ husbands, who may need a little advice on special occasions. Luckily for them, Smith’s crew is taking notes.
“A lot of men never even see what they buy because we wrap it up,” Smith said. “They drive to the backdoor. We put it in their car. They give us their credit card. And that’s it.”
Or they could just pick up a gift card. They have those here too.
And by the way, gift wrap is free here and layaway is still in the store lexicon.
It’s a blast from the past in terms of service, though things have changed since Smith’s mother worked in the store when the owners brought back clothing from Paris to sell.
“I’m more of a jeans and T-shirt girl than I am a dress-up girl,” Smith said. “We changed some things and it has paid off because we have attracted some different clientele and the existing clientele have jumped right on that too, because people aren’t dressing up like they used to.”
“We offer everything from bluejeans to grandmother of the bride,” Smith added, “so we have a wide variety of items.”
Quality Shop employee India King actually bought her senior prom dress at the store and has been shopping here for more than 50 years. Counting her mother’s time shopping, that’s about 80 years of one family being loyal to the shop.
Smith also knows at least one customer over the age of 100 that still visits the store.
And the Quality Shop isn’t a secret tightly confined to Halifax County natives and residents. The store has put on fashion shows for the Lake Gaston Ladies Club, something Smith says the store always looks forward to.
“We appreciate our current lake customers,” Smith said, “and would love to meet new residents.”