by Madison V. Fisler
Dec. 4, 2013. For years, the Banner Elk bird destination WingN’It shared a home with Snow Toys and was only around seasonally. This year, however, WingN’It will be open year round, as it has found a new home in the most unconventional of places.
“All weekend, we had record sales. We had so many people in town coming in to see the inside of the building. At our new location, people are able to walk here from the festivals and fairs,” said Edi Crosby, owner of the shop.
Now open year round for visitors and residents to enjoy, WingN’It has also become “The Little Red Caboose Christmas Shop.”
“We carry Christmas and holiday decor like linens, candles, wreaths, garden flags and outdoor decorations and a wide selection of holiday ornaments!” Crosby said.
“We have all that along with a full gift store, and a full-service wild bird store with the largest collection of wild bird products in the High Country. We are known for my eclectic mix of items and gifts.”
During the winter months, the shop will even offer sleds, hats, gloves, socks and winter wear to customers.Be sure to stop in and get some fudge to satisfy your sweet tooth as well!
Holiday hours for the shop’s inaugural holiday season are 11 a.m.-5 p.m. daily through Jan. 5. Hours after Jan. 5 will be Wednesday through Sunday 11 a.m.-5 p.m. Through the end of March. The shop will reopen in April with spring hours 10 a.m. – 6 p.m. daily through the summer.
Edi and Ric Crosby first bought Snow Toys Ski and Snowboard Rental, a business that had already been open for a decade, two winters ago. Practically no snow fell that first winter, so they had a rough opening season. Edi then decided to move the skiing and snowboarding supplies into storage during the summer, so that they could open a different business during the warmer months.
When brainstorming business ideas, Edi noticed that there wasn’t a bird store in the area. After doing research, she decided to open a bird supply store. She knew that for her business to succeed, she had to go beyond the bird store concept and have what Ric calls a “destination location.”
Edi Crosby realized how difficult it was for someone in Banner Elk to buy a gift without having to drive out to Boone or Blowing Rock. As a result of the move to the Red Caboose, Banner Elk’s downtown area now offers a gift shop.
“I wanted to do bird supplies, but I also wanted to sell gifts, for inside and outside; wind chimes, candles, garden flags, and just combine it all together. Now I can have a more full-ranged gift store. We have fudge too!” said Crosby.
WingN’It is the destination for bird and garden lovers in the area. It’s the only shop of its kind in Banner Elk and offers birdseed, feeders and houses. The eclectic shop also offers gifts for the home and garden, local artisan crafts and more, and the inventory is updated weekly.
The Red Caboose, known formally as Clinchfield Caboose 1024, started off at the Hampton Railroad Car Company of Hampton, Indiana in 1948. The caboose made nearly five thousand trips between Spartanburg, S.C., and Elkhorn, Ky., until its retirement in 1964.
In 1971, Oscar G. Mason III bought the caboose and had it delivered to Banner Elk. From there, he turned the train car into a men’s and women’s clothing store. Since then, the caboose has been a variety of small businesses.
With the move finalized, WingN’It will operate year round. Snow Toys will stay at its old location and stay open during the winter months through mid-March. Edi said that she and her husband were brainstorming ideas on a new business to run during the summer where Snow Toys is located.