Elizabeth City residents who have planned a wedding, celebrated an anniversary or selected fine china have probably shopped at Selig’s. And if they’ve shopped at Selig’s, chances are they are now good friends with its amiable proprietress Allison Cianciulli. In 2003, she purchased the long-time jewelry story that dates to 1882. She has since transformed the Elizabeth City landmark into an upscale jewelry and home décor shop, while retaining the traditional services brought you to Elizabeth City?
I’m originally from Hillsborough, N.C. and have lived in North Carolina all my life. My husband’s job brought us to Elizabeth City in 1996. We loved the small town charm and water so much, it quickly became our home.
Tell us about the history of Selig’s
Originally the store was called Louis Selig’s, and it opened in 1882 as a watch repair business located on Water Street. The shop moved to its present location, at 513 E. Main Street, in 1927. With the move to Main Street it became a jewelry, china, sterling flatware and watch company. When I purchased the store in 2003, it transitioned again, becoming Elizabeth City’s premier gift and bridal registry, in addition to having an emphasis on estate jewelry. We have maintained the traditional service with our own modern style. The mahogany cabinetry and architecture has remained very much unchanged.
How did you come to purchase the store?
Approximately 20 years ago Lucy Gordon and Harriett Hornthal purchased Louis Selig’s store and shortened the name to Selig’s. After enjoying it for almost 10 years the “girls” decided to sell. I had been a regular customer and a investments that make big money works and With name, try.
collector of their Veitri pottery. When a mutual friend suggested ownership to me, the seed that had been planted just blossomed. It seemed to be a perfect fit for me. My children were getting older and I needed a creative outlet.
Selig’s carries gifts for all occasions, personalities and lifestyles! Our selection is varied and changes often.
You have a devoted clientele. What keeps your customers coming back?
We do have a devoted clientele within the community and beyond. We have customers that travel to us from surrounding areas and “regulars” that visit from afar. I think they appreciate our exceptional, personalized service. Whether they are in the shop to have us customize a diamond ring for an anniversary or engagement, or just to say a quick hello, we are glad to see them. We have lovely, sincere friendships with our customers, and our service reflects that. We always desire to help them find the perfect gift! They trust us and know we’ll always stand behind our products with integrity.
How do you like being located in the heart of Downtown Elizabeth City?
We love being downtown! We know our neighbors and feel our successes are their successes too. We’re within walking distance of our bank, many restaurants, shops and boutiques.
What’s the key to your store’s success?
The key to our success is our true desire to help our customers.
What do you like most about your job?
Everything! I love my job, and I do think that it shows. I often say we are in the “happy business.” I get to
work with friends everyday and to “shop” for a living. We are surrounded by lovely jewels and home trimmings. I very much enjoy helping folks find just the perfect gift for others or for themselves. I have an extremely good team of employees, who each have their own unique talents. Our manager, Manua, is a very talented artist and often helps create custom designs.
What advice do you have for others who may be interested in going into business for themselves?
My advice to others would be to simply do what you love. Then your enthusiasm will serve you well.
Finally, do you have a favorite piece of jewelry that came from your store?
My favorite piece of jewelry is a pair of estate pearl and diamond earrings. I love them! But, I also love my Alwan Vahan bracelets. There are many lines in the store that I find irresistible.