Beckley’s Blue Magnolia offers home decor and VIP fashion.
Dana Blankenship operated Chateaux Interiors, her Beckley-based interior design firm, for 15 years. But when a downturn in the coal mining industry caused the business to start slipping, the energetic entrepreneur decided to try something different.
She opened Blue Magnolia about two years ago, in the same building where her interior design business once lived. “That was the time that Chip and Joanna Gaines was such a hot deal,” Blankenship says. “So I thought, ‘Let’s play off of that. We don’t have anything around here that’s like that.’ So that’s what we did. And people loved it.”
Blankenship’s daughter, Jessica, a recent West Virginia University grad, came back to Beckley to help her run it. “I don’t know that she was excited that it worked out so well because, you know, when you graduate you think, ‘Oh, I’m out of here.’ But Beckley has served us well, and she sees that.”
The shop, located at 610 North Eisenhower Drive in Beckley, started out as a farm home decor store, but it’s evolved into selling lots of things. “It’s just a go-to place if you’re looking for something different,” Blankenship says. “And that could be for your home or a gift or clothing.”
Blue Magnolia prides itself on being one of the few places in the area where you can buy Annie Sloan Chalk Paint. There are also a lot of West Virginia-themed items, which Blankenship says they can’t get enough of. “Anything West Virginia, we cannot keep it in the store,” she says. “If vendors don’t include West Virginia-themed items, we beg them to because people love our state.”
Blankenship’s 17 years as a business owner helps her understand what her customers want, and she keeps them in mind when she’s buying things for the store. “Being in business so long with both businesses we’ve really gotten to know our customers pretty good. I literally go and say, ‘I know this customer would love this and, if she loves it, everyone else will, too.’ I think that’s one of the reasons they come back.”
With its antique truck named “Maggie” sitting out front and its unique offerings, Blue Magnolia has also become a destination for out-of-state visitors traveling Interstate 64. “They’re like ‘Oh, I saw you on Facebook and I just wanted to stop here.’ Or they see the truck outside,” Blankenship says.
Blue Magnolia recently added clothing to its inventory. It has gone so well that Blankenship recently started Blue Magnolia Clothing Company, an online boutique that sells clothing on a VIP Facebook page. “We just don’t have the space to accommodate home decor and all the clothing that people want,” she says. “So that’s why we have that. Then they can do local pick up if they order online, so it brings to people into the store that way, too.”
photographed by Amanda Reed Photography