Apr 11, 2007
St. Albans woman’s love turns her hobby into a successful businessBy Kris Wise

Betty Ghazi began selling dolls in a small glass case near the cash register of her husband’s St. Albans restaurant.

They were part of her own massive doll collection, and parting with those few “just about broke my heart,” Ghazi said.

But it was sort of an experiment, and the dolls went like hot cakes.

Ghazi’s new store, Chillers Gift Shop — which shares a name with her husband’s restaurant — opened a year ago in the Riverwalk Plaza in South Charleston.

“I’ve always thought if you do what you love, you’ll be successful,” Ghazi said.

She loves dolls.

The basement in her St. Albans home warehouses her personal doll inventory, which numbers. . .well, it’s large.

“I tell my husband there’s about 137 of them, but it’s more like 200,” Ghazi, 54, said. “We don’t really let him in the doll room too often.”

Ghazi’s store is sort of a wonder for those who take their doll-collecting seriously, and many do.

The front window of her store resembles that of a hospital nursery. It’s closed off from the rest of the store with glass partitions, and is adorned with realistic-looking incubators and cradles.

Anybody — specifically children — who buys and builds a newborn from the nursery section gets official adoption papers and a chance to spend a few minutes in the store’s rocking chair.

The little ritual is a favorite among Ghazi’s youngest customers.

She offers special Make-A-Baby themed parties, held right in the middle of the doll shop.

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