- Associated Press - Sunday, September 20, 2015

HARPERS FERRY, W.Va. (AP) - Eight weeks ago, Cindi Dunn, owner of The Vintage Lady in Harpers Ferry, lost everything - her shop, her inventory and her neighbors in the downtown business district.

On Sept. 5, however, Dunn reopened The Vintage Lady in its new location, 196 High St., and is she is moving on from the loss that rocked Harpers Ferry on July 23.

The “soft opening” began at 10 a.m., and Dunn said she had many of her “regular” customers, as well as some new faces, stop in, shop and greet her.

Michelle Foust and her daughter, Mackenzie Foust, were among the shoppers at The Vintage Lady on Sept. 5.

Foust said she once owned a shop next to the former Vintage Lady location at 180 High Street, in one of the buildings that was destroyed in the fire, and knew Dunn as a neighbor in the commercial district.

“Billy Ray and Cindi (Dunn) are consummate Harpers Ferry residents and business people,” Foust said. “Their love and passion is here in Harpers Ferry. (Cindi) is always thinking of new and better ways to promote Harpers Ferry.”

Foust, who knew the interior of the former Vintage Lady shop, said inventory at the new location has been tailored to better suit the space and the customers’ preferences.

The resiliency of the Dunns will spread to other business owners affected by the fire, she said.

“She did it, because she wants to see this town thrive and survive. She’s an inspiration to the other businesses here. If they see her do it, they’ll realize they can, too, and she would help them get reopened,” Foust said.

Dunn said she was able to reopen so close to The Vintage Lady’s former location because the owners of Harpers Ferry Wine and Gourmet closed their shop at 196 High St. in May and were willing to rent the space to her.

“I actually called them at 7 o’clock that Thursday morning of the fire,” she said. “The flames were still shooting out of the (Vintage Lady) building, but I knew I had to do this. I knew I had to get back into Harpers Ferry.”

Dunn said The Vintage Lady opened in Harpers Ferry in 2003, but the name stemmed from her own jewelry making enterprise she began in the early 1990s.

“A group of friends helped me come up with the name, ‘The Vintage Lady.’ Since then, she’s kind of taken on a life of her own,” Dunn said.

Dunn said rather than focusing on what she lost in the fire, she is looking ahead to the future and moving on.

“I’ve said all along that this fire isn’t going to beat us down,” she said. “This town survived the Civil War. A fire is not going to destroy this town. If anything, the fire made me more determined.”

The Vintage Lady is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday, and open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. on weekends.

Dunn said a grand reopening will be held the first weekend in October.

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Information from: The Journal, http://journal-news.net/

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