A new store is coming to Clayton in the form of a western wear shop in the former Clayton Train Station.
Local woman Sandy Dukes bought the Clayton Train Station last year from WSFS Bank and decided to open up a western wear shop because of the lack of similar shops in the area.
Dukes had previously owned a horse farm outside of Clayton and had a specialty shop at the farm. She sold the horse farm and was running the Kent County Summer Feeding Program. Dukes and her family eventually bought the train station to have another shop in the area and to also have a place to keep all her paperwork for the feeding program.
"I just figured what better way to run a business than to have one that will allow me to meet people," Dukes said. "It's funny, after I purchased it [train station] the previous owner contacted me. He said he was so glad I got it and was doing something with it."
Dukes said she's gotten a positive response from people in town and has even gotten a few requests such as selling milk and bread since there's nowhere in Clayton to get such products. She's in the process of looking into the possibility.
When trying to decide what type of store to turn the station into, Dukes did her research. She didn't want to have a novelty shop similar to other shops in the area. Dukes decided on a western wear shop.
"This gives kids an opportunity to buy western wear," Dukes said. "There's not a shop like this from Harrington to New Jersey."
She thinks the shop, which her family will help run, will be an asset to the community. Dukes has decided to keep to the history of the building; the shop's name "All Aboard Exchange" is derived from the building's history as the Clayton Train Station. Dukes is hoping to find pictures of the train station from years past to put on one of the walls of the shop. The store will have a model train display during this year's Clayton Railroad Days Festival.
The shop inventory includes clothes for everyone from infants to adults, western boots, jewelry, candles, household decorations, kid's cookbooks and more. Dukes is even selling merchandise from A&E show "Duck Dynasty." She'll also sell horse show clothing as consignment as it can be expensive.
While All Aboard Exchange isn't open yet, she hopes to open in May though people can call and check with Dukes to see if they can come before then. Hours also aren't set yet; Dukes said it'll be a trial and error to determine what the set hours should be.
Page 2 of 2 - Even though she won't be open for the Saturday, April 20 Clayton town yard sale, Dukes said people can contact her about setting up a table at the train station.
As it draws nearer to the opening date, Dukes said she's gotten a lot of phone calls from residents excited to have the shop around. One woman called and asked if she could come down for boots, when Dukes said yes, the woman said she was going to get her friends and they'd be over.
"I'm really excited," Dukes said. "I'm very excited about it."
Email Jennifer Dailey at firstname.lastname@example.org.