Mattie B’s is a gift shop in Stuart, Virginia.
Nestled in the Blue Ridge Highlands in the rural town of Stuart, Virginia is Mattie B’s, an independent gift shop with heart. Owner Matilda Hunsicker originally opened the store in a local store eight years ago, with a very different plan for its future.
“Since we’ve been living in Stuart, I’ve always thought someone (in town) should open a little gift shop,” Hunsicker said. “It never occurred to me that I was that someone.”
Her husband’s career shifted towards a new calling, and convinced that they would need to relocate, she began practicing minimalization. While working part-time, she sold items from her home to the emporium, and inspiration struck. “I started thinking about what a great place to try a little retail and see if it would work in our community. It took off and the idea of minimalization went out the window.
Due to the rural nature of the town, Hunsicker aims to offer a bit of everything to its customers. From clothing and birthday gifts to toys, gifts for men and even technology, she hopes to fill a need within her community. To provide the extra level of service that independent gift shops are known for, she offers free gift wrapping, sending merchandise from her store in attractive packaging.
Hunsicker sees his store as a fun and familiar atmosphere for his customers, a place to chat, chat and shop. She also believes she is doing a service to her community, helping them save time and money by being local. “I’ve met so many wonderful people, and it’s been such a joy,” she said.
Honor community service
From the beginning, the store’s mission has been to serve the surrounding community, contributing to local entities. Ranging from simple door prizes to sponsorships, the shop has donated to schools, museums, foster homes, food banks and more. On the store’s About Us page on her website, mattie-bs.com, Hunsicker lists the many charities she has contributed to over the years.
Internationally, the store has always donated a portion of its profits to SowHope.org, a charity that benefits women in third world countries through welfare, education and literacy programs. , while providing microfinance loan opportunities for women who want to excel in retail. “They’ve been very successful in seeing communities grow through their local partners,” Hunsicker said.
In 2018, Mattie B’s focused more on her charitable giving for her fifth anniversary in business, creating the Oval award. The oval, Hunsicker explained, is a shape with significant meaning: “It is graceful and complete, with a sense of integrity and perfection, representing unity, commitment, connection and community. ” Each year, the store recognizes a member of the community who embodies these attributes. The award comes with a financial contribution to the recipient’s favorite project.
With charitable giving at the heart of the store’s mission, Mattie B’s has made an impact on its surrounding community. “What do I love most about retail? Hunsicker asked. “People, conversations and hopefully making a difference in someone’s day.”