New owner to lead Hilton’s clothing shop

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For nearly 30 years, Hilton and Alice Bass have toiled to make Hilton’s Men’s & Ladies’ Fine Clothing into a trusted retail shop, and the recent purchase by Walker Finklea is ensuring the legacy lives on.

Finklea wasn’t even born when Hilton’s opened for business as a clothier for men, but the 23-year-old said she’s always aspired to have her own store. The N.C. State University graduate originally was going to major in business, but opted for textiles with the hope of pursuing her dream.

While in school, she worked part-time at a clothing store in Raleigh and after graduating, she went on to become the manager of a Chapel Hill clothier.

“I learned management, hiring employees and handled all the social media,” Finklea said. “I was more in charge of the clothing, so I gained most of my experience there. I helped with some of the buying, but I hadn’t been to market until I got back (Monday) from the men’s market.”

She said her immediate focus is on meeting customers and learning the ropes. Finklea doesn’t plan on making any significant changes in the immediate future, but will add a website and social media presence soon.

“I think social media is used by teenagers the most. It is a different generation, but I am part of that and we’re always on our phones,” she said. “Truthfully, Instagram, Facebook and websites are increasing retailer sales these days, so I hope to use that to my advantage.”

Hilton’s reputation to sell “T-shirts to tuxes and suits along with everything in between” won’t change. Some additional brands and products likely will be added over time, but Finklea was adamant classic merchandise won’t be sacrificed for new items.

“I have a very specific customer right now and I never want to lose that,” she said. “I hope to make additions that grow the business, but don’t lose the demographic we have.”

Hilton’s is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekdays and 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturdays at 2801-3P Ward Blvd.

Auto store consolidating locations

Later this month, two car parts stores less than a half-mile apart will be merged into one, but company officials said the change will not result in lost jobs.

In 2014, Advance Auto merged with Carquest’s parent company, General Parts International of Raleigh. Originally the plan was to consolidate all of the Carquest stores to Advance Auto, but company officials reported mixed results from consolidation.

Advance Auto Parts District Manager Brad Carter said management shifted to determining the best course for each market, but the proximity of the store on the 4500 block of Ward Boulevard to the Carquest at 1405 Tarboro St. meant consolidation was the best plan.

“The Tarboro Street location has a better road front with more curb appeal,” Carter said. “The other building is older and dated. We’re going to do some remodel here to make it even better.”

The changes began with the new year to include rebranding and painting on the Tarboro Street location. The last day of business at the Ward Boulevard store will be on Feb. 27 with the six employees shifting to the other locations, either on Tarboro Street, at 3805 Nash St. NW or other stores depending on availability and employee preference.

The remodel on Tarboro Street is expected to be complete by the end of March and will include more inventory. Once the changes are complete, a customer appreciation event will be announced.

Extra! Extra!

After nine years, the owner of It’s A Girl Thing at 2506 Wooten Blvd. has announced plans to close the shop.

“For some time I have prayed and asked the Lord for some direction on my future,” according to the Facebook post. “He has opened another door for me and with much thought I have decided to take this path.”

The shop will shutter today, but the owner said plans are in the work to sell the remaining merchandise. For more information, visit www.facebook.com/itsagirlthingnc/.

Got an idea for news to include in next week’s Main Street Minute? Don’t hesitate to reach out to me at 252-265-7821 or bhandgraaf@wilsontimes.com.