RADFORD–While redecorating BT’s several years ago, Diane Whitehead said she noticed business seemed especially slow during lunch on Tuesdays at her husband’s restaurant.
Coincidentally, Whitehead found the same was true for her friend Meg Weddle, the owner of Meg’s, a specialty women’s clothing store in Radford.
“How about we have a little luncheon at BT’s and you can do a fashion show?” Whitehead said she asked Weddle at the time.
And so the “Lunch Bunch” was formed, a weekly meeting at BT’s that provides attendees with an opportunity to learn about clothing tips over lunch.
About a dozen women attended the Lunch Bunch on Tuesday, and Weddle presented advice on how to tackle cleaning out closets, which she says she encourages her customers to do at the beginning of every year.
“If it’s all haphazard and disorganized, and it’s the first thing you see in the morning, that’s not good,” Weddle said.
Weddle offers a closet-cleanout service where she helps a client organize every closet of clothes in their house for $200, though she is offering the service for $100 until April 1.
Weddle said she’s been surprised to find that nobody ever uses the top shelf in closets for clothes, and that she’s seen people store everything from love letters to an Ouija board there.
“It’s unbelievable what you’ll find up there,” Weddle said. “Though I’ve never seen a skeleton, yet.”
One of Weddle’s main pieces of advice was to buy clothes that could be donated or sold to a consignment shop once an individual no longer appreciates the clothing item.
“If they’re great for consigning, they’re great for buying,” Weddle said. “You think about [resale value] when you’re thinking about buying a car, but you never really think about clothes that way,” Weddle said.
Merle Vorster has been coming to the Lunch Bunch for a about a year and appreciates the friendship she has found in the group.
“We all get to know each other, and then get to visit every week,” Vorster said, noting that it can be difficult sometimes to coordinate schedules with friends, and that the Lunch Bunch guarantees those meetings.
Weddle said the Lunch Bunch draws anywhere from 1-32 attendees at a time, and that about 60 different people have attended over the years.
But friendship isn’t the only benefit of attending a Lunch Bunch meeting: Weddle offers discounts at her store for Lunch Bunch members.
If an attendee visits the store on a Tuesday after going to a Lunch Bunch meeting, they will receive a 20 percent discount on items that are not from the Brighton brand. For every time an attendee comes to a meeting, they will also get a $5 gift certificate at the end of the season.
Weddle said she really enjoys the meetings.
“There’s the wonderful people I’ve met in this community, and the research that I do for this,” Weddle said. “Instead of just operating in a vacuum, I’m bringing in outside information.”
This will be especially true in a few weeks when Weddle begins a new history series for Lunch Bunch that will explore fashion “through the ages.”
The Lunch Bunch also hosts a clothing swap a few times a year for attendees to exchange clothing. Any items that are not swapped by the end of the event are donated to the Women’s Resource Center in Radford.