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Silver shop will shine in North Suffolk

Hi-Ho Silver is expanding into North Suffolk later this month.

The Newport News-based silver shop will be opening in a 1,200-square-foot space at 2944 Bridge Road, next door to A. Dodson’s gift shop, in mid-June, said owner Leslie Sink.

Although the store carries some silver and pewter gift items, it specializes in handcrafted, sterling designs made by Mexican silversmiths exclusively for Hi-Ho Silver, she said. The store also carries several lines of sterling silver jewelry.

“We are an affordable luxury,” Sink said.

Sink and her husband, Chris Sink, opened their first Hi-Ho Silver store in Newport News’ Hilton Village in 2002. Since then, their Peninsula store has relocated to the new Marketplace at Tech Center, off Jefferson Avenue. The company also has stores in Virginia Beach and Williamsburg. The company closed a store in Ghent two months ago.

The decision to come to Suffolk was easy, particularly after looking at the number of existing customers from Suffolk, Smithfield and Carrollton who shop at their other stores, Sink said.

“We feel like a store here can stand on its own,” Sink said. “We’re already getting a lot of positive feedback from our customers.

“We work hard to take care of our customers,” Sink said. “Our customer service … and our service to our communities and neighborhoods are what sets us apart from other retailers.”

The store prides itself on old-fashioned, personalized customer service, Sink said. Employees frequently send handwritten thank-you notes for customers, greet customers at the door and are encouraged to share their knowledge about how the store’s handcrafted silver pieces are made, Sink said.

Hi-Ho takes an active role in the community, frequently donating products for school and nonprofit organizations’ fundraisers, Sink said.

“We never say no, we give to every auction and every fundraising event we can,” Sink said. “Our communities are really good to us … and we feel like it is our civic duty to give back by donating products … for silent auctions or raffles.”

Unlike most businesses today, Hi-Ho Silver’s website does not have an online store.

“There are people who aren’t interested in buying everything online … and who want to support small businesses,” Sink said. “There is a large segment of shoppers who still love to touch, feel and try on things … before they buy.

“For them, shopping is also about the thrill of the chase.”

Sink believes Hi-Ho Silver and other unique, independently owned stores in the area should start promoting themselves together. She is designing a postcard encouraging visitors to “shop the loop” around Bennett’s Creek, mapping out several nearby stores: A. Dodson’s, Fireflies on Bennett’s Creek, and Plum Crazy.

“We want to brand that corridor,” she said. “Each one independently is a shopping destination but together, they also make up a nice shopping loop.”