Who’s got the goods?
Best Gift Shop
Hoot & Howl
When Stephanie Swaim moved west—from Virginia to West Virginia, that is—she missed her hometown’s shops where regional artists sold their wares. That desire, coupled with a creative spirit and a space for rent on Walnut Street, led to Hoot & Howl. “I wanted to do something to support people in our direct community and support other artisans throughout the country,” she says.
She opened the store in August 2018. Swaim started with a dozen artisan partnerships. A year and a half later, that number exceeds 100. An artist herself, Swaim is always on the lookout for one-ofa-kind pieces made by hardworking folks. In fact, Hoot & Howl’s inventory changes almost daily, whether it’s featuring a new artisan’s work or restocking popular items. At any given time you might chance upon statement earrings, organic body products, or West Virginia–themed gifts.
No matter what treasure you find, Swaim can tell you about its maker. After all, she sees fostering community as crucial to both the small business and art worlds. She’s proud to be one of the people making a difference downtown. “Supporting a small business is supporting our community. They’re the heart of our community and help us grow,” she says (245 Walnut Street, 540.533.0189, shophootandhowl.com, @shophootandhowl on Facebook).
Best Place to Buy Health Food
Morgantown Farmers Market
The Morgantown Farmers Market gets better every year. Every Saturday from May through November, the Market Place Pavilion is a riot of just-picked fruits and vegetables, freshcut and potted flowers, local eggs, meats, and cheeses, fragrant breads and pastries, and skilled rural crafts—all from the hands of the growers and makers themselves. Come winter, the indoor market is lush with squashes and root vegetables, preserved treats, cheering greens, and more (summer: 400 Spruce Street; winter: 503 North High Street; 304.291.7201, morgantownfarmersmarket.org, @morgantownfarmersmarket on Facebook).
Best Local Pet Store
Exotic Jungle Pet Superstore
Furry, feathered, soft, or scaly—no matter what shape, size, or species your animal friend is, Exotic Jungle Pet Superstore has the goods and expertise to care for its every need. Shop for a new collar for Fido, healthy cat food for Fluffy, or underwater decor for Mr. Fish. Staff are always eager to lend a helping hand or give a word of wisdom. “We make sure not only that the animals get everything they need, but also that the client gets all the information they need,” says owner Emily Sanders. “We strive to make sure everything living here will go out and live a full life.”
The store itself is full of life with sociable birds, scurrying hamsters, and slithering snakes. Many folks have also gotten their beloved feline through Exotic Jungle’s popular cat adoptions. “I have people who come in and say, ‘I got a kitty from you, and he’s 18 now,’” Sanders says. She also enjoys when people just swing by to say hello to the animals or stop when they’re visiting town. “That makes you feel like you made an impact on somebody’s life,” she says. Whether you walk through the door on two legs or four, you’re part of the family at Exotic Jungle (1716 Mileground Road, 304.296.8552, “Exotic Jungle Pet Superstore” on Facebook).
Barnes & Noble
For bookworms, there are few better ways to spend a lazy Saturday than nestled in an oversized, comfy chair with a hot cup of coffee and a new book. That’s why they flock to Barnes & Noble at University Town Centre. Rows of shelves feature titles ranging from fantasy and science fiction to autobiographies and memoirs. Beyond books, Barnes & Noble carries magazines, movies, music, stationery, and games. The cafe also provides the perfect oasis for writing or grabbing a cup of Starbucks coffee (2814 University Town Centre Drive, 304.599.1294, barnesandnoble.com).
Best Furniture Store
Chuck’s Furniture and Mattress
When you’re decorating your house, you want it to feel like home. No one knows that better than Chuck’s Furniture and Mattress, a family-owned business with three generations behind its success. The store had its humble beginnings in 1967 and operated out of a 2,500-square-foot warehouse and showroom. Now, it features more than 100,000 square feet of furnishings fit for every family’s budget and lifestyle.
Snag a comfy recliner for the living room, modern cabinets for the dining room, a stylish rug for the bedroom, or a writing desk for your home office. You’ll sleep like a log on a new bed, too. The store carries everything from memory foam mattresses to cooling pillows. Or give your windows some love with their custom window treatments.
Strapped for cash? The PAC 5 Furniture showroom carries a variety of furniture that’s the same high quality with a lower price tag. But the true secret to this seven-time winning BOM champion is the people. Longtime employees are always eager to provide first-class service along with their topnotch products (77 Lawless Road, 304.292.7621, chucksfurniture.com, @chucksfurniturewvu on Facebook).
Best Place to Buy Kids’ Apparel
Once Upon A Child
Buying a snazzy new coat for a kid who’s just going to outgrow it in a few months can be frustrating for both you and your wallet. Not at Once Upon a Child. This secondhand store is filled with clothing, shoes, toys, accessories, and more for children spanning newborn to youth. Go in with your kiddo’s on-trend, gently used items and get moolah on the spot—or trade for store credit. Use your newfound cash to stock up on anything from Nike sweatpants and Sperry duck boots to an American Girl doll and a Little Tikes slide. Then, when your tot outgrows those purchases in a few weeks, go back and trade them in for more new goodies (7100 Willie G. Avenue, 304.322.2446, onceuponachild.com/morgantown, @onceuponachildmorgantown on Facebook).
Best Secondhand Furniture Store
The Ranch Community Store
The Ranch Community Store isn’t your typical thrift shop. Sure, you can find discounts on secondhand clothing, furniture, and more, but you can also do good in the neighborhood. Proceeds support Chestnut Mountain Ranch, a Christ-centered home and school for boys in crisis, located six miles from town. “It’s a local store that supports a local ministry,” says store manager John Herman.
Over the years, the store has added square footage, retail hours, and even trucks to its fleet of vehicles that pick up donations. But the most important growth is the people. “We have a crew of faithful volunteers, and we also have a great staff that has grown from a couple of people to about a dozen,” Herman says. Here are three ways to get involved:
Shop The Facebook page posts pictures of some furniture for sale, but that’s only a fraction of the store’s goods.
Donate gently used items that are collecting dust in your closet.
Volunteer “It’s a great opportunity to serve the community we love,” Herman says (255 Don Knotts Boulevard, 304.381.2606, ranchstore.org, @ranchstorewv on Facebook).
Best Local Recreation Store
Pathfinder first opened on April 1, 1973, to supply the people of Morgantown with gear for their backpacking, hiking, and rock climbing needs. Nearly half a century later, the independent outdoor retailer continues to provide unparalleled service and quality products for a wide range of outdoor adventures. Everyone on the staff is just as passionate as their customers. They, too, spend their free time outdoors doing anything from biking and hiking to skiing and paddling. “The best part is when customers get to the point where they might not quite know what they need for a particular activity, but they know they need to come to Pathfinder to get it,” says General Manager Gabriel Fitzwater. He adds that people can swing by to get service on their bicycles and snow gear from friendly, knowledgeable mechanics.
Haven’t checked out this perennial BOM favorite for yourself yet? No matter your tolerance level for outdoor adventure, the store has a way to get you out and about.
For the city slicker, get stoked to hit the streets on a new skateboard.
For the suburbanite, cruise around the culde-sac with a top-of-the-line, name-brand bike. You can look as cool as your brand-new wheels with cycling jerseys, jackets, and pants, too.
For the weekend camper, gear up with Pathfinder’s extensive selection of hiking boots, sleeping bags, and tents. Weather won’t be a factor in your outings with a North Face or Patagonia jacket, either.
Best Grocery Store
It’s no surprise locals visit Kroger to pick up everything from milk to prescriptions. But did you know these facts about the popular chain?
- Barney Kroger was a man of firsts. In 1901, he was the first grocer nationwide to establish his own bakery. Later, he made the revolutionary move of selling meat and groceries under one roof.
- You can buy diamonds along with your deli meats. In 1998, Kroger purchased Fred Meyer Jewelers.
- Kroger now has almost 2,800 stores spanning 35 states—including three right here in Morgantown.
500 Suncrest Towne Centre Drive, 304.285.6780; 350 Patteson Drive, 304.599.5324; 1851 Earl L. Core Road, 304.296.7146; kroger.com
Best Place to Buy Shoes
This locally owned shoe store measures kids and adults alike to ensure a perfect match. Browse shelves packed with name brands such as Birkenstock, Crocs, Keds, Sperry, and UGG that will leave you feeling like royalty (751 Chestnut Ridge Road, 304.599.7443, theshoestory.net, “The Shoe Story” on Facebook).
Best Place to Buy
Daniel’s of Morgantown
Daniel’s keeps Morgantown’s gentlemen dressed sharp from head to toe.
Head Football might be over until fall, but it’s always the right time of year to show off Mountaineer pride. Pick up a hat from among Daniel’s proprietary line of WVU gameday apparel.
Shoulders Whether you’re dressing up or down, the store has you covered with polo shirts, dress shirts, and sportcoats.
Knees Find your new favorite pair of dress pants, or get fitted for your next suit with brands like Michael Kors and Ralph Lauren.
And toes No outfit would be complete without a snazzy pair of shoes, and Daniel’s carries plenty of styles to finish your look. Add a fun pop of color with a new socks, too (2908 University Avenue, 304.296.7202, danielsofmorgantown.com, @danielsofmorgantown on Facebook).
Best Place to Buy Women’s Apparel
The Maxxinistas of Morgantown vote in droves for this popular off-price retailer. Step inside T.J. Maxx, and it’s easy to see why. There’s workout apparel, professional attire, home goods, kids’ toys, and shoes. T.J. Maxx buyers hunt for brand-name merchandise that might be a department store’s excess inventory or a manufacturer’s surplus product. They cut out the middleman and gimmicky sales, just offering quality finds for great values every day (499 Target Way, 304.599.1261, tjmaxx.tjx.com, “T.J. Maxx (Morgantown, WV)” on Facebook).
Best Jewelry Store
Jacqueline’s Fine Jewelry
At Jacqueline’s, the only thing that shines brighter than the gems is the enthusiastic, expert staff. They help customers pick out anything from sparkling wedding bands to stylish watches—or design custom a piece for a truly one-of-a-kind treasure. If you’re clueless about carats, the comprehensive guide and easy-to-use search tool on Jacqueline’s website can help you find a diamond that’s sure to dazzle, no matter the occasion (1070 Suncrest Towne Centre Drive, 304.599.6981, jacquelinesfinejewelry.com, @jacquelineswv on Facebook).
Best Place to Buy a Wedding Dress
Coni & Franc
Every bride hopes to look like a queen on her wedding day but, at Coni & Franc, she can get the royal treatment long before wedding bells ring. For 38 years, this full-service boutique has dressed women for special occasions. Consultants help brides find their dream dresses from a large inventory of gowns designed around the world. “We don’t pick what is typical. We pick what is unique and timeless,” owner Connie Merandi says. Bridesmaids and mothers of the bride and groom can shop for attire, too, and alterations can be done in-house.
The century-old building itself Coni & Franc occupies recently underwent alterations, too. The inside was updated with crisp whites, grays, and aquas, and new displays showcase accessories from head to toe. “It’s wonderful to see the building’s transformation, but it still holds onto its character and historic beauty,” Merandi says (422 High Street, 304.296.9466, coniandfranc.net, @conifranc on Facebook).
Best Secondhand Clothing Store
Looking sleek and stylish doesn’t have to sabotage your budget. This first-time BOM winner is brimming with chic, newto-you outfits to fill your entire wardrobe. Bridget Moreland first opened the Uptown Cheapskate franchise location in Morgantown with her mother, Gail Knotts, in 2018. Moreland browsed resale stores for her own family. “As a mother of three children, I shopped these stores religiously. My kids would outgrow something, so I’d sell it in and trade it for the next size,” Moreland says. When she moved back to her home state of West Virginia, she wanted to bring upscale thrift clothing to Morgantown.
At Uptown Cheapskate, you can sell gently used yet still-in-style clothes, shoes, and accessories for cash or store credit. But don’t leave your freshly emptied hangers lonely—peruse the store’s racks for brands like Anthropologie, Coach, J.Crew, and Urban Outfitters, all priced to be wallet-friendly. “If you go to the mall, you have to go to five or six different stores to shop for all of these different brands,” Moreland says. “Here, we have them all in one location.” And people are still discovering this Morgantown gem on a daily basis. “Most of the time, they say, ‘Wow, this is my new favorite store,’” she says. “It really boosts your pride in what you do.”
Moreland enjoys working with her mother. “I’m the numbers person. She’s very creative and has a hand in doing the displays and shopping. We use each other’s strengths,” she says. The same, she notes, can be said of her staff. “They’re all really good fashion consultants and great with our customers.” Uptown Cheapskate also regularly gives back to the community. Once a year, the shop places donated clothes into bins and shoppers pay a flat rate to fill a bag with as many goodies as they can. All of the proceeds go to the national franchiser’s charity of choice, buildOn, which builds schools in developing countries (5001 Mid-Atlantic Drive, 304.381.4568, uptowncheapskate.com, @uptownmorgantown on Facebook).