The Wonderland of the Upstairs Downstairs Boutique

When most people think Pulaski they think manufacturing, agriculture and small business. And who can fault them? The story is the same for many counties in the New River Valley. But there's one place in Pulaski that is a little more uncommon for a town in Southwest Virginia.

The Upstairs Downstairs Boutique is one of the hidden gems of Pulaski, which is ironic considering its location at 27 West Main Street. From the outside, the building looks quaint enough; the Victorian style of architecture still stands out. But the real magic begins as soon as you step through the front door; from the front of the store to the back, an enormous collection of furniture, dinnerware sets and various odds and ends presents itself to visitors. And it all blends perfectly, giving you a sense of travelling through time back to a point when stores like this weren't so uncommon.

Most people would look at a store like this and think that an army of curators and collectors must be behind such an impressive array of items, but everything you see at the Upstairs Downstairs Boutique is all thanks to one woman, Marlis Ryssel-Flynn. A German native, Marlis has spent years forming her collection of jewelry, china, clothing and decorations among other things.

The downstairs portion of the Upstairs Downstairs Boutique is impressive enough on its own, but the upstairs takes it a step further. Many of the rooms on the second floor have been decorated to look like something that a sophisticated aristocrat from 1940's Germany or France would be proud to live in.

The elegance of the décor only adds to the feeling of mystique that the whole shop exudes; something about this place makes you feel as if you could spend years perusing the shelves and you'd still be finding new things to admire. And while you may go in thinking that such a fine collection must be on the expensive side, this isn't the case; even some of the larger items upstairs are very fairly priced. Antique pickers would have a field day here with the combined quality and low prices.

The next time you catch yourself looking for something interesting to do in Pulaski, remember the Upstairs Downstairs Boutique. Even if you're not the type to be attracted to an antique store, give it a go; you might be surprised by what you find in Marlis Flynn's shop of treasures.

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