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Published Tue, Sep 04, 2012 08:00 PM
Modified Tue, Sep 04, 2012 04:14 PM

Clayton festival grows loyalty among vendors

- newsobserver.com
The Harvest Festival brings out large crowds every year, many who shop with the vendors like the ones who lined the streets in this 2010 photo.
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- Correspondent

CLAYTON -- For Lynn Thomas, the jewelry business isn’t just a passion – it’s in her blood.

The Clayton resident is a fifth generation jeweler and she’s spent over 40 years handling precious gems.

On Saturday, Sept. 15 her company, Lady Lynn’s Boutique, will set up a booth along Main Street for the sixth year in a row as a participant in the annual Clayton Harvest & Music Festival vendor fair.

Thomas moved to Clayton eight years ago with husband and business partner, Ronnie, and fell in love with the local festival.

“I noticed that this event was so different than the larger ones in Raleigh,” said Thomas. “The first year I came as a spectator just to get to know the locals and really enjoyed the small-town atmosphere.”

Lady Lynn’s Boutique is run out of Thomas’ home in the Riverwood subdivision. She operates two websites, ladylynnsboutique.com and ladylynnsgiftboutique.com, selling affordable designer inspired fashion and handcrafted gemstone jewelry.

After working in the retail jewelry industry for several years in Raleigh, the couple moved to Virginia where the idea for Lady Lynn’s Boutique was born. Thomas wanted to have a job where she could be available to her three children and two young step-sons.

Now with all the children grown, the pair moved back to North Carolina and began selling their pieces at trade shows and festivals in Wake and Johnston Counties. They attend approximately 25 per year and enjoy the time it affords them together aside from Ronnie’s job as a Wake County high school teacher.

“He comes home and I put him to work,” Thomas said. “We really love the festivals because it’s a fun time and gives us a chance to talk and plan and dream,” Thomas said.

At this year’s Harvest & Music festival, Thomas plans on bringing a wide array of earrings, necklace sets and bracelets. Rings are the most popular item and she will have plenty on hand. All displays are coordinated by color and gemstone to make it easier for customers to find just the right match.

“People don’t always know how to pick things out,” she explained. “I just follow trends of what others are wearing.”

Thomas said she’s been a repeat vendor at the festival because of the event’s family-friendly atmosphere that caters to all age groups.

“I really enjoy the way they operate it,” said Thomas. “It’s a perfect way to spend a Saturday where kids can ride the rides, parents can shop and there’s music playing. It’s nice to be in a small community like this where I can see so many friends.”

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