Couple looks to carve niche with new shop
Lovers of all things vintage, antique and designer now have a new place to shop in Winston-Salem.
City natives Marshall and Cynthia Jeffries opened the doors to their upscale consignment shop, Jeff’s Shared Treasures, in August.
Nestled in the heart of the East Winston community on New Walkertown Road, the shop represents both heartbreak and a the realization of a long-held dream for Marshall Jeffries. Roughly 75 percent of the store’s merchandise belonged to his late mother, Eva Jones Jeffries, a retired educator who passed away in April at the age of 83. Jones Jeffries, who spent much of her retirement operating an in-home daycare, had a well documented penchant for beautiful things.
“She liked home decor,” Cynthia noted. “She liked to keep her home looking nice.”
This year has been bittersweet for the Jeffrieses. In addition to the loss of Jones Jeffries, Cynthia was laid off as assistant health director at the Forsyth County Department of Public Health, but on the bright side, the couple celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary and welcomed their first grandchild.
The store, which is home to everything from dress suits, shoes and church hats to knickknacks, dishes, home decor, jewelry and framed art, is a fitting tribute to Jones Jeffries, as it was her love of fashion and decorative items that first inspired her son to enter the retail business.
“My mother was a real dresser. I think I got my fashion (sense), my dream of being in retail, from her,” said Jeffries, who vividly recalls store merchants placating him with dimes for the peanut machine to keep him occupied while his mother shopped. “My mother liked to shop, so every Saturday we were downtown, and they knew her on a first name basis in every store we went in …That was in the days when teachers really dressed to go to work, with the suits and the high heeled shoes.”
Marshall embarked upon his career in retail in the late 1980s, when he opened a women’s clothing store, Marshall’s Crystal Forms, in his mother’s basement.
“It’s a great feeling,” he said of returning to his retail roots. “It’s something I really enjoy.”
While some might have difficulty parting with a departed loved one’s possessions, Marshall says he isn’t especially sentimental.
“My wife tells people I’d sell her if she stood still long enough,” he joked.
An only child, Marshall said he sees the influx of possessions he and his wife inherited from his mother as provision from God, an opportunity for the couple to start a new chapter in their lives and their careers.
“I just enjoy being able to provide things for others that they may need and providing an income for my wife,” said the Fisk University alumnus.
“It provides a good start,” Cynthia said. “Now, we just have to continue to build it.”
Cynthia staffs the store most days, with the help of her husband, who spends several hours there prior to heading to Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center, where he works second shift as an environmental services manager. The joint venture, which they are funding out of pocket, has deepened an already happy union, Marshall said.
“She (Cynthia) tells people she loves me most days,” he quipped.
The community has been supportive of the business thus far.
“I think we’ve been pretty successful with word of mouth,” Cynthia said. “Once people see it, they tend to tell others and they tend to come back.”
There is still work to be done in the realm of educating members of the black community about the merits of shopping consignments, an environmentally friendly alternative to mainstream retail that offers unique wares that have stood the test of time and can’t be found elsewhere, Cynthia added.
“Our purpose all along was to provide a high quality, clean shop that people in our community can be proud of, and I think we’ve done that,” she commented.
The shop reflects the refined taste Jones Jeffries was known for, as well as her love of snowmen, apples, roosters, all of which can be found in abundance among the current merchandise. The Jeffrieses rotate their stock regularly, posting new items on the store’s Web site and donating items that don’t sell to clothes closets at area agencies that help people in need to dress for success, such as Goodwill or Forsyth Technical Community College, or their church, First Baptist Church on Highland Avenue. The store draws its name from two sources, Cynthia said.
“My concept was really to take the Jeffries name and really share the treasures that had been amassed over the years,” she explained. “Marshall will tell you that when his mother first started working, they called her Jeff, so here again, we’re sharing Jeff’s treasures.”
Marshall believes his mother would approve of the couple’s innovative approach to managing their inheritance.
“I think she would like it,” he said of the store. “I think she’s smiling down on us right now.”
Jeff’s Shared Treasures, 2608 New Walkertown Road, is open Wednesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays from 9 a.m.–3 p.m., Fridays from 9 a.m.–6 p.m. and Sundays from 1–6 p.m. For more information, visit www.jeffssharedtreasures.com, call 336-703-1778 or find Jeff’s Shared Treasures on Facebook.