Meet a Downtownie

Polished, Melanie Woodard’s Silver Bullet

Posted by Lisa N. Ha

Some people get balloons and a greeting card stuffed with cash when they graduate from high school. Or a trip to the beach, courtesy of Mom and Dad. Valley native Melanie Woodard received a copy of How to Start Your Own Business from her aunt – and she says it was just what she wanted.

Years later that how-to guide is finally getting use. This month Woodard will open her first business. Housed on West Water Street adjacent to the parking deck, Polished will specialize in sterling silver jewelry pieces that exemplify “modern, elegant and timeless” qualities. The shop will take up 620 square feet of a building being renovated to also accommodate a new men’s clothing store and studio and office space for DIGICO, a video production company.

For Woodard, Polished is a culmination of careful business planning, retail and customer service skills honed as a former manager of Classic Tuxedoes, and not a small amount of throw-caution-to-the-wind-and-go-for-it faith.Wholly aware of the current economic condition and the discretionary nature of jewelry, Woodard is depending on the recent consumer trend toward local shopping and tourist traffic in downtown Harrisonburg to help support her business. As a board member of Harrisonburg Downtown Renaissance, she presents Polished as helping to diversify downtown’s offerings beyond restaurants and adding to a “cluster” of downtown jewelry businesses, shown to be an effective retail strategy. Beyond this, however, is her desire to invest in the revitalization effort and the feeling of home and town identity found only downtown. Selling silver jewelry is a way for her to realize her dreams, but one that is rooted in a passion for the metal formed as a child.

A Family Tradition

Woodard’s grandmother worked as a buyer at the now-closed Joseph Ney’s department store when it was an anchor in downtown Harrisonburg. Birthdays, Christmas, Valentine’s Day – every occasion was an opportunity for grandma to lovingly select an item of silver jewelry for her granddaughter. Woodard remembers looking forward to getting a new piece every occasion. Though she is now married to a manager of James McHone Jewelry and owns items that need their own insurance policies – her silver collection from her grandma is one of her most beloved possessions.

Silver, Woodard says, has the ability to surprise by its versatility. It can be intricate and delicate like filigree, timeless as a classic black dress, or whimsical and fun when paired with gemstones and shaped into bold designs. And because it costs less than gold or platinum, she adds, it is her choice for everyday accessorizing.

Visit Polished on West Water Street when it opens for the entire range of sterling silver jewelry options, plus natural gemstones, alternative metal wedding bands and other accessories. Brides looking for bridesmaid gifts, prom attendees, women looking to treat themselves and people hoping to purchase unique gifts can all walk away with a quality piece that will hold its value over time. Store hours (tentatively) will be from Wednesday to Friday 10am to 5:30pm, Saturday 10am to 4pm.


10 thoughts on “Polished, Melanie Woodard’s Silver Bullet

  1. So proud of Melanie Woodard and her newest project! She and Hunter are both fine assets to the H’burg business community. What a great addition to the downtown shopping area. We’re already planning a trip from Fred’burg to patronize her new shop.

  2. I can’t wait to see Melanie Woodard’s new shop and all the pretty silver. Being a “polished” lady herself, she will shine along with all of her jewelry.

  3. What a wonderful article. We are so proud of you guys and all your hard work. We too look forward to shopping @ polished

  4. I am looking forward to many shopping excursions at Polished. What a great new reason to shop in downtown Harrisonbur!

  5. Polished is now open! Please join owner Melanie Woodard in celebration of the grand opening of one of downtown’s newest retail stores. Stop by anytime from 10am to 8pm and enjoy 10% off everything in the store!

  6. My family owned Joseph Neys. So glad to hear your family’s history with the store. Best wishes to you for great success and long life.

    Richard David Robinson
    Grandson of Adrian & Lorrain Sonn, son of Adrienne & David (Buck)

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