New chic boutique opens in Ridgeway

RIDGEWAY – The town of Ridgeway is quickly gaining ground as a shopping mecca for up-to-the-minute style. Its newest fashion and gift boutique, Simply Town, opened two months ago and is already making a splash.

Boutique owner Cristina Surina

Owner Cristina Surina, 26, said she curates the boutique’s looks and labels during her frequent travels to fashion shows in New York and Atlanta.

“I prefer going to the New York shows,” Surina said. “I’ll be going back there again at the end of February. I go to the Atlanta shows, too, but I mostly have things I order from New York. I look for chic, modern clothes you can

wear everyday – styles that can be dressed up or down, and that look great on everyone,” she said. “I have lots of cute things coming in for the spring and summer.”

Some of the store’s best-selling brands include Julie Brown NYC, Escapada Living, Charles River and Dizzy Lizzie. The boutique offers plus sizes and prom dresses as well.

 

“The legging looks have been really popular,” she said, “and the Liverpool Jeans collection is selling well, too.”

Heading to the Cup? Simply Town is stocked with hats, dresses and even Alynn bowties for boys. The store’s variety of unique gift ideas includes Swig Cup tumblers, notebooks and planners from Sweet Caroline Designs, Carolina and Clemson items and monogramming for gift items and clothing.

Surina said the choice of Ridgeway for setting up shop was easy. Her sister Angelina owns the Olde Town Hall Restaurant on S. Palmer St., and the two are close. Born and raised in Moscow, Russia, they emmigrated to Northeast Columbia with their parents when Surina was 14 years old. She said their father had always wanted to move to the United States, and had stayed in touch with friends who lived in Northeast Columbia. When the Surina family’s application for green cards was granted through a lottery-type system, they were excited about the sudden relocation, despite its overwhelming aspects.

“I learned English only after moving here,” Surina recalled. “I didn’t even know how to say ‘hi’. And I got thrown into the middle of the school year, in eighth grade, after the winter break. It was very…” she said with a grin, “interesting!”

 

 

Now she lives with her husband and their two kids – a girl, 8, and a boy, 2, in Northeast Columbia, near the house where her parents still live.

Surina worked as a model in her younger years, and has always had a passion for fashion, and she suddenly felt it was the perfect time to realize her dream of owning a fashion boutique. Her sister was renting an empty building in Ridgeway that needed renovation work, but she didn’t have any immediate plans for it.

“So when I asked her about turning it into a boutique,” Surina recalled, “she said, ‘Go ahead!’ A friend from Russia came over to help me, and it took us about two weeks to turn it around.”

Surina had a specific vision for the shop’s interior, and she enthusiastically set about the task of bringing that vision to life.

“When my friend from Russia saw all the stuff I was buying and ordering online for the décor, she said, ‘how are you going to fit all this?’” Surina recalled with a laugh. “So I just drew it out on a piece of paper for her, and said ‘this is going to go here, this is going to go there.’ When everything came in, we unboxed it and set it up, and everything fit just right!”

It helped that this wasn’t her first rodeo with interior design. Besides completing Real Estate school, working toward a degree in accounting, and her decade of experience in the restaurant industry, she also owns a busy housecleaning service and has been asked several times by clients for her advice on redecorating and remodeling

“So I would help them choose new furniture and paint colors,” she said. “I redesigned closets and other things like that. I can picture a new look in my head, I don’t know how. It’s just there.”

 

She said that the opportunity to create a boutique of her own has been a dream come true.

“I’ve always enjoyed shopping and fashion,” she said. “So going to fashion shows and actually having my own store is something I’ve always wanted. And I really like it here – Ridgeway is a beautiful historic town, and it’s growing.”

Simply Town Boutique is located at 235 S. Palmer St. in Ridgeway.  For more information, check out Simply Town Boutique on Facebook and Instagram.