Longtime gift shop closes

Jul. 06, 2013 @ 03:00 PM

When The Gilded Lily by Patra closes its doors this weekend after 18 years in business, it will leave a void in High Point’s retail landscape.
Patra Wansley and her husband, Ronny, ran the boutique gift store in a historic house at 1104 N. Main St., forging a loyal customer following while competing with big-box stores and chain operations.
But business slowed down, and the couple decided to concentrate on running another shop they opened in Blowing Rock last summer. Saturday was the last day in business for the High Point location.
“Our customers are like family. We’ve had a lot of people coming in with their bottom lip poking out, very upset. It was a hard decision. I thought about it and prayed about it for a couple of years,” said Patra Wansley.
She opened the shop as an extension of her design business, Interiors by Patra, and her work decorating at the Showcase of Homes in Greensboro for 15 years.
“I got so much exposure decorating these houses that people would want what I had in the house, so I decided to open the store so they could have it,” she said.
The shop spent its first three years in business at another location before the couple bought the 97-year-old former home of the Siceloff family and moved the business there. Its two floors housed 3,000 square feet of merchandise, including gifts, accessories for the home, jewelry, bedding, boutique clothing, lamps and candles — “just your basic, nice, boutiquey gift store,” as Wansley put it.
She closed for a few months a while back and redesigned the store and “made it more organic and turned it to part consignment. We tried to change with what’s going on,” she said.
The store in Blowing Rock, where the couple has a second home, has done well.
“It’s smaller and easier to manage — lots, lots, lots more people, lots more sales,” she said. “It’s been a great 18 years. It’s just time for a change. We wanted to simplify things.”
The couple will continue to reside in High Point, going back and forth to Blowing Rock to run the store there. They haven’t decided what to do with the Gilded Lily property, though they may look into leasing it or selling it.
“Right now, we want to keep it retail, because we really want to keep the Uptowne High Point movement going. It’s in good condition. It’s a great house, and it could be a lot of great things,” Wansley said. “I’m proud of the customers we’ve had, and what it’s meant to the community. Eighteen years is a long time in retail in High Point.”