Charlotte Brady didn’t like retirement.
The longtime owner of Charlotte’s in Warrenton closed her business in 2005 and moved to North Carolina.
But the lure of fashion and customer service kept calling to her, and now she’s back – this time in Culpeper. She opened Charlotte’s in the middle of May and has been thrilled to be doing business in Culpeper.
“I decided about three years ago I wanted to come back to Virginia,” Brady said. “When I decided I was coming back to Virginia, a couple of years ago we looked at Culpeper but there was nothing available downtown space wise.”
Then she received a call from her friend Jessica Hall, owner of the Raven’s Nest, who told her about a space opening up at 102 N. Main St. She jumped at the chance to open up downtown,
“Culpeper is a more vibrant downtown,” Brady said. “Warrenton, though I had a lot of my old customers, the downtown is just dying. Jessica found this and said you have to come to Culpeper. I jumped on it.”
Despite leaving Warrenton, she still has clientele who frequented her store there coming to Culpeper.
“The nice thing was when I notified all my customers in Warrenton that I was coming here, they all said they were so glad,” Brady said. “Because they shop Culpeper more than Warrenton. That made me feel good that I was making the right decision.”
She operated Charlotte’s for 26 years, so she has a long list of customers and a long list of connections. She put those connections to good use after she tired of retirement.
“I got bored,” Brady said. “I didn’t have any clothes to wear and I couldn’t find anything down there to wear so I started doing trunk shows.”
She started trunk shows in North Carolina and eventually made her way back to Virginia. A self-proclaimed “active person,” she missed the interaction with the customers. That led her to Culpeper.
She offers high-end, reasonably priced clothing and jewelry for women and tuxedo sales and rentals for men. She laughed when she recalled that her first customers in Culpeper were men window shopping for their wives.
“Some of the first customers I had were men checking it out for their wives,” Brady said. “When men shop for their women they are usually very good. When they’re comfortable they are really comfortable.”
Her clothes are all designed and made in the USA and come from small designers.
“I look expensive, but I’m not,” Brady said. “I specialize small designers you don’t find in the department stores.”
She hand picks everything in the store, leaning toward colorful, unique designs and one-of-a-kind jewelry.
“I basically buy what I like, and my customers seem to like that,” Brady said.
She has a long relationship with Culpeper, having worked as an independent designer in Orange in the 1970s and selling her wares at Commonwealth Park on horse show days,
“I just beat the pavement and I have a lot of contacts, it’s a good network,” Brady said.
Charlotte’s is open Monday through Saturday 11 a.m. to 6p.m. and Sunday 1 to 5 p.m.