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We're glad you're here!
We are sisters Lee Ann Goins and Kathy Goins Mills, and we feel like the luckiest gals around because we got to grow up in Hinton, WV!
Like other Hintonians (we’re trying to get that name to catch on), we relish the memories that our small-town upbringing has given us: football games at the old Stokes stadium, trick-or-treating in the neighborhood, riding our bikes till nightfall, and parades in our historic downtown. We took baton-twirling lessons in a room at City Hall, dance lessons at Sharon’s School of Dance (used to be right across from the post office), and played in the Hinton High School marching band (saxophone and trumpet, respectively). We were “mermaids” in the West Virginia Water Festival and church organists at Central Baptist Church.
There was a bustling economic district in the Hinton of our youth and no need to go outside of city limits for shopping. We found the latest fashions at stores like Davis’, Cox’s, The Don Array, The Hub, and Tots and Teens. We got our winter sleds at Western Auto (the “Western Flyer,” a classic!) and picked up disco albums (as well as Dad’s CB radio) at Radio Shack. G.C. Murphy’s was good for just about anything and everything, and they always had fresh popcorn going. A hot date was a movie at The Ritz followed by a stop at Pizza Hut or Dairy Queen. Add to that three rivers and a lake, wildlife, and endless mountain views, and you just have to ask yourself, “What more could a person want?”
LIke we said, we’re lucky.
But later years were hard on Hinton. The railroad industry, a major employer in the area, pulled back its operations here and people had to move on to find dependable work. The population dwindled and businesses closed. A series of fires wiped out some important buildings and residences. Some days, it seemed like our sweet little town was on the brink of folding up entirely and it broke our hearts, as well as everyone else’s who lived here.
But the “cream rises to the top,” as they say, and Hinton’s unique beauty and history wouldn’t be suppressed for long. The town simply had to adapt, as we all do, to changing times and work to reestablish itself in a new era. Outdoor activities like whitewater rafting and hiking brought visitors in the summer, and they started telling their friends about us! People started moving here--former residents who wanted to come back home to retire, and new folks who were looking for a different pace of life in our “wild and wonderful” surroundings. Gradually, new businesses began to open up here and there, and Hinton sprang back to life once more.
The downtown Hinton of today is a bit different than the one we grew up in but no less vibrant. We have new shops run by new people, and they bring with them a unique outlook that is reflected in their products and services. We also have some stalwart businesses of the past that are still going strong today. By combining the old and the new, Hinton’s identity is evolving and changing every day. It’s exciting to watch.
But we don’t want to just WATCH these changes; we want to be a part of them! That’s how we came up with the idea of Hinton Outfitters--a gift shop dedicated to promoting Hinton and the surrounding areas with original, one-of-a-kind souvenirs. We’re sure you’ll get a kick out of our light-hearted take on local culture. T-shirts like “Hinton is the Center of the Universe” and “I Party at the PIts” are big sellers, (you’ll have to ask a local to explain “The Pits.”) as are our vinyl stickers depicting local specialties like biscuits and gravy or a steaming skillet full of corn bread. We also create meaningful pieces that acknowledge our town’s history, like our Hinton train poster, modeled after vintage travel ads, and a commemorative Christmas ornament, depicting the train station through a 3-D design of precision-cut, rhodium-plated brass.
Whatever you take home with you, we hope it provides you with long-lasting and fond memories of Hinton, WV, this lovely town that we get to call home.
Ya’ll come and see us!
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