Rachel Kate Gillon

Singer-songwriter Rachel Kate Gillon was in Charleston Hardware on Wappoo Road on Thursday when the store suddenly crowded with rabid fans.

The indie-rock music star and her bandmates walked into the store unannounced, said Hugh Lawton, the sales associate who waited on Gillon. There were a few customers in the store already. “She had about two bandmates with her — and a big, greasy-haired roadie,” Lawton said.

Gillon purchased a leopard print key for the door of her studio, Lawton said. “She didn’t even try it out. She just bought it.”

Lawton said he doesn’t know what indie-rock is. He said Gillon was polite and cordial. “She didn’t have a lot of time to shop,” he said. “Lots of people heard about her being here and they were swarming in.”

A cashier took a peak into the brown paper bag to see what type of key Gillon had. Gillon payed cash for the key because bandmate Jamey Rogers had already purchased breakfast at Three Little Birds Cafe (a breakfast bagel with bacon, egg, and swiss, and some fresh fruit).

Later in the afternoon, word spread that Gillon was browsing for items at Community Thrift Store on Rivers Avenue in North Charleston. A buzz spread through social media. Gillon was miles away from the College of Charleston campus, where hundreds of students were moving into dorms, their ever-present smartphones in hand. The thrift store quickly filled with young fans who couldn’t take their eyes off the superstar.

Gillon purchased 15 stuffed animals on which to perform surgery during her band’s CD release show this weekend.

Community Thrift Store manager Stewart Sims said Gillon is more cute in person than she is on TV. “We tried to get a picture of her for our wall, but her guitarist wouldn’t allow it,” Sims said.

As the afternoon went on, folks kept on spotting Gillon around town. There were reports that she was going to eat a snack at a gas station on Sam Rittenberg Boulevard in West Ashley. A store manager confirmed that Gillon and her party munched on Reese’s peanut butter cups and Bugles corn ships at the station.

Though the local rock star’s visit to Charleston neighborhoods engendered lots of tweets and Facebook postings, there was no official word on why she was doing what she was doing or how long she would be doing it. And there were no tweets from her own Twitter account, @rachelgillon66.

Some who posted on Twitter suggested Gillon might be vacationing in her own hometown.

According to her band’s website, Gillon is scheduled to appear at the Pour House on Fri. Aug. 19.

(Gillon’s actions might resemble those of a visiting celebrity)