Mother-daughter duo celebrates expansion of family-owned boutique Just the Thing

Family-owned boutique Just the Thing once again has expanded at its Devine Street location. The store has grown to a 5,000-square-foot space carrying women’s fashions.

Just the Thing founder and owner Terri Jackson (seated) and her daughter, vice president Tracy Wright (photo by Kelly Petty).

Just the Thing founder and owner Terri Jackson (seated) and her daughter, vice president Tracy Wright (photo by Kelly Petty)

“The opportunity to have our clothing and shoes displayed in what I feel is the most beautiful storefront on Devine Street is beyond exciting to me,” said Tracy Wright, vice president of Just the Thing. “It will allow us to highlight lines that are not available anywhere else in Columbia.”

Wright’s mother, Terri Jackson, always had a love for fashion from a young age. In high school, she was named best-dressed, and her mother owned a hat shop. She also has experience in fashion merchandising.

“It’s just in my blood. It’s just there and I can’t get rid of it,” Jackson said.

Jackson started the business in 1991 out of Atlanta as a traveling boutique. She would travel to cities like St. Louis, Missouri; Tupelo, Mississippi; and Athens, Georgia, selling jewelry and accessories.

“My kids were getting ready to graduate and I was going to be an empty nester,” Jackson said. “I knew that I wanted to do something so I started with a table of jewelry and I traveled around and did trunk shows. And it just grew and grew.”

Wright graduated with a degree in journalism from Auburn University and considered going into broadcast but decided to shadow her mother and join up with her business venture in 1997.

“I fought it hard. I wanted to be a journalist,” she said. “I decided ‘let’s see where we can go with this.’ ”

Wright got married in 2001 and moved to Columbia. She opened a storefront on Devine Street a year later. The store was just 650 square feet when Wright started. She moved to a new 1,800-square-foot location on Devine Street in 2004, and the company added an additional 1,000 square feet in 2011.

“We’ll try to keep classic trends for women because Columbia is relatively a classic town. There’s a lot of preppy here,” Wright said. “We stay true to what women like to wear. We try to stay pretty classic and then bring in a twist of modern and current.”

The store offers what is described as “chic fashion & gifts for the fabulous woman” that caters to any style, any age and any occasion. Jackson and Wright keep up with what’s on the runway, in magazines and online and fit it to appeal to women in Columbia.

“I think that we have really, really good taste,” Jackson said. “We try to find the best look at the best price.”

Jackson said she thinks her clients also are drawn to Just the Thing because it is an independently owned and operated business built from the ground up.

“This is our company, this is our business,” she said. “We started it from one little table to 5,000 square feet in Columbia. We are not a store that’s a chain all over or a franchise… we have developed this and it is our own. And we take pride in it, and it’s one of our babies.”

The new location will house the company’s existing clothing and shoe collection, while the current location next door will continue to sell jewelry, handbags, gifts and personalized items.

Jackson said Just the Thing offers a variety of price points to fit every woman’s budget. A large selection of the brands are available for less than $100, while a few clothing items and accessories are priced up to $200.

Jackson and Wright said clients can expect lots of color for spring, nautical inspired attire, wedges, sandals and layered jewelry. The store also will host a trunk show during grand opening week for designer Britt Ryan.

“I just enjoy the interaction with the customer, and buying it and seeing them leave with it,” Jackson said. “It’s just become part of my life.”

The new location will be open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. Saturday. Jackson and Wright will be holding a grand opening celebration starting at 10 a.m. Tuesday at 2734 Devine St.

More information about Just the Thing can be found at the store’s website.


Categories: Business, Richland County