Shoppers searching for a hat to top off their Easter outfits need look no further than Seasons Fine Hats and Accessories in downtown Smithfield.
If the name sounds familiar, it’s because owner Cyndi Smith ran the shop for a couple of years until late 2012. Smith said she closed the doors to get a change in her life but continued to sell hats out of her home.
Smith said she eventually came to miss having a brick-and-mortar store. After a lot of work turning an old bail bondsman’s office into a boutique, Smith held her grand re-opening Monday.
“I missed it so much, it was like having empty nest syndrome,” Smith said. “And people kept saying to me, ‘You’re the hat lady. When are you going to open another shop?’”
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For ladies, the shop will stock hats for every occasion, from Kentucky Derby parties and church services to casual events and beach outings. Smith will also carry hats for men, featuring brands such as Stetson, Bailey, Steve Harvey, Charlie Wilson and Stacy Adams. Accessories will mostly cater to women, with items including jewelry, gloves, scarves and fragrances.
Most of the inventory will carry affordable price tags, but Smith said customers should recognize that the highest quality items come with a cost.
“You can’t expect to have a Queen Elizabeth hat on your head for (the price of) a Salvation Army cap,” she said.
Selling hats is more than a business to Smith. It’s part family legacy because her mother made hats, and it’s partly her passion to see people look their best – particularly on Sundays. Smith remembers a time when most ladies wore hats to church, and now she believes people spend too much time dressing up for the wrong occasions.
“The dance clubs have a dress code, but the church doesn’t,” she said.
“So people go in the club wearing fancy jeans and shoes, but they go to church looking like they’re going to the Food Lion,” Smith said. “Ladies need to put their (church) hats back on.”
Smith said she has multiple sclerosis but continues to pursue her goals and dreams through sheer determination. She gets around using a walker, which she calls her Cadillac, and shows a remarkable amount of self-reliance. If you offer to pick something up for Smith, she’ll likely turn you down, and if you ask her about the illness, she will talk about the good instead of the bad.
“God has been so good and gracious to me,” she said about her health.
Season’s Fine Hats and Accessories
Where: 513 E. Market St., Smithfield
Hours: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday