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Women from California opens boutique in Kingsport

Sharon Caskey Hayes • Nov 24, 2007 at 12:00 AM

Sally Bissen and her daughter Shyan pose in front of Sally's Treasures on Memorial Boulevard. Ned Jilton II photo.


KINGSPORT — Sally Bissen was planning to move from California to Texas. But a series of life events led her farther east instead.

Earlier this year, Sally moved with her young daughter to Kingsport, and opened a business offering new name-brand clothing, home decor and accessories at wholesale prices from an upscale New York department store.

“We have lots of brands like Jones New York, Ralph Lauren, Tahari, Liz Claiborne, and many more,” Sally said. “You can get a $395 Anne Klein jacket for $40.”

Called Sally’s Treasures, the business is located in a house-turned-boutique on Memorial Boulevard next to KB Burgers.

Coming from California

Sally and her husband were planning to leave California and move into a large house on a golf course in Austin, Texas.

Meanwhile, Sally’s stepmother was nearing death, and an old friend called her to offer support. The friend, originally from Big Stone Gap, Va., had lived in California seven years before returning to his hometown.

After her stepmother’s death, Sally continued talking with her friend in Big Stone Gap.

“In sharing what we had both been up to over the years, I realized my family and I were living too fast and not enjoying life. We were headed to Texas, but taking all the stresses of California with us,” Sally said.

“I was not living a life that was really who I am deep down inside,” she said.

Sally started rethinking the move to Texas. She began researching Tennessee and considered moving to Knoxville.

Then she ordered a relocation package from Kingsport, and decided to move to Colonial Heights. She moved here last spring with her daughter, Shyan. Her husband, Chris, stayed behind in California, but hopes to move here once he finds a job. He works in information technology, and is a computer consultant for a bank.

Sally’s Treasures

Inside the new business on a recent Friday afternoon, customers browsed through racks of name-brand clothing and shelves of accessories.

Teresa Armendariz stood behind the checkout counter, welcoming newcomers to the shop. Teresa said she had lived in the Kingsport area some 30 years ago, then moved away, and had been in California for 28 years. She met Sally there.

“I was so sick of California,” Teresa said.

Sally suggested Teresa should return to Kingsport.

“I told her I have this house in Colonial Heights — it’s just me and my daughter right now — come on out. You’re welcome to stay as long as you want,” Sally said.

Teresa took her up on the offer. She’s now working to help Sally get her shop up and running. And Teresa plans to help Sally establish a Web site for the new business.

Today the shop is starting to get noticed. Sally is seeing repeat customers, and word is spreading.

“I believe things happen for a reason. You have to say God is at work here and I am thankful everyday that I came to Kingsport,” Sally said. “It’s like we were led here.”

Sally’s Treasures, located at 3817 Memorial Boulevard, carries name-brand clothing for women, juniors and children, along with plus sizes for women and juniors. The business also carries formal wear.

“I get clothing for women, juniors and children from a well-known New York department store at below wholesale prices, so I can pass along the deals to my customers,” Sally said.

“We have a wish list so if a customer is looking for a size or style that we do not have, they can put their name on a wish list and we’ll call them when it comes in,” Sally said.

“We want to keep it a small boutique feeling and will even offer something hot to drink on cold days. And we always have chocolates on the counter for customers,” she said.

Sally’s Treasures is open from 11 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Tuesday through Friday and from noon to 4 p.m. Saturday. The business will extend its hours for the holiday season. For more information, call the business at (423) 239-9993.

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