Sally Hubbard, Guest Writer~

Over the past few years, the city of Lynchburg has been recognized for its revitalization and growth in its downtown area. The expansion of new loft and apartment housing, local businesses and trendy restaurants have flooded this particular area of Lynchburg.

One store that has been able to contribute to this extensive growth is Live Trendy or Die. Bridgeport, NJ native Stephanie Atkinson is the store owner of Live Trendy or Die, as well as two other stores located in downtown Lynchburg: The Conscious Mercantile and Windblown Apothecary. With development advancing downtown, Atkinson knew she wanted to be a part of the “blow up” that Lynchburg had coming. Atkinson also knew she could take her years of retail experience and open something of her own as well as take advantage of the “unused niches available downtown where Lynchburg locals love to shop.”

Live Trendy or Die is a clothing store that is located right in the heart of downtown Lynchburg on the corner of Church Street. Atkinson’s inspiration behind the name of the store came from the motto of her husband’s home state of New Hampshire, “Live Free or Die.” LTOD is known for its trendy clothing, unique handmade jewelry and other locally-made items such as candles and home decor.

Windblown Apothecary located on Church Street. Photo taken by Sally Hubbard. Apr. 23, 2018

One of Atkinson’s other stores, The Conscious Mercantile  – which has a similar style to LTOD – is located on Main Street. The store opened in August 2016, (less than a year after LTOD) and brought with it vintage clothing, local handmade candles, cards, jewelry and other goodies to downtown Lynchburg. The Conscious Mercantile, which means “thoughtful choice,” allows customers to find a meaningful gift or purchase for themselves while also shopping locally. Atkinson said, “shopping locally is important to bring change to the community, to stimulate growth and help create infrastructure, bottom line.”

The most recent of Atkinson’s stores to open, Windblown Apothecary, joined LTOD on Church Street in September 2017. Windblown Apothecary was named under humorous circumstances; Atkinson said that her third store received its name, “simply because everything on the Church Street block somehow always gets blown in front of the store.”

Atkinson is currently looking to open another store outside of Virginia within the next year; however, she said, “I would love to keep opening more stores in Lynchburg and keep all my employees with me forever.”

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