When most people think about the Outer Banks they are quick to think of sun drenched dunes, sea oats dancing in the breeze and a natural paradise for wild life and humans to share. But the Outer Banks isn’t just famous for beautiful beaches and a great family atmosphere! Many locals are so proud to own and support local businesses and when visitors are packing their bags, you can bet that they are putting an outfit aside for dinner at their favorite local-owned restaurant. Local businesses really are the heart and soul of the Outer Banks and that is something that I am so glad that our children get to grow up witnessing. They have watched as I’ve grown my photography business and as I launched Outer Banks Mom and they know what it takes to make it happen. They’ve happily dined at restaurants that the parents of their friends own and they’ve shopped at great local stores where the owner knows them by name. There’s something so special about how much heart is in each and every business here on the beach. It's really no surprise that we have so many young kids following in the entrepreneurial footsteps of Outer Bankers.
The past few months have brought a few awesome new businesses to the Outer Banks and it’s been so much fun to experience new places with our family and friends. Notably, we've had some amazing Mom's putting the "Mom" into the local Mom and Pop shops!
Honey & Hive
Honey & Hive was a popular name among Outer Banks women long before Erin Harrell opened up her new boutique just a few months ago. Located in the Seagate North shopping center, this boutique has become a popular place for trendy and affordable clothing but before that, Erin offered an incredible way to shop her styles right from your sofa. With a VIP Facebook group, she would post photos and her world famous mirror selfies while wearing a dress or great pair of jeans that were also available for purchase through the group. This group gained popularity quickly by creating a way for people to shop while waiting at the dentist office or in the school pick-up line by scrolling on their cell phones. One of the best parts of this service was that Erin quickly learned what styles and sizes would fit her customers and could easily respond to questions like, “What size would work for me?” This kind of personalized, first class service is exactly what Erin provides when you walk into her store. With new inventory coming in often, it is truly a different store each time I stop in. With a versatile range of options, I’m able to find great clothing to run around with my kids in or a great date night outfit. While her store is impressive in it’s own right, it’s also so beautiful to see how family oriented her store is. It’s not unusual to find one of her three gorgeous kiddos hanging out around the store with her. Erin truly is an Outer Banks mom boss and if you haven’t stopped by her boutique yet, it’s time to check her out while her new Spring styles are rolling in!
Johanna’s Cafe Lachine
When I first met Johanna Lachine I was a brand new Outer Banks dweller. We worked together briefly and I still credit her for changing the way that we cook and eat vegetables in our own home. Johanna has opened her brand new restaurant, Johanna’s Cafe Lachine, in Wanchese just off of Old Wharf Road. It’s been so much fun watching her cooking evolve over the last 8 years but one thing is constant, the quality and amazing flavors are always top notch! Johanna was the first person that I met on the Outer Banks that had a child and we always swapped stories of raising our little boys. Now, she is a mom of two and she always takes a minute to ask me about my kiddos and her entire face lights up when she talks about hers. I’m so thrilled that her new restaurant is so kid-friendly and that I can walk right in and pick something up to instantly satisfy a hungry toddler. This truly makes dining with my wild little one an easy task. At Johanna’s you can also enjoy a fresh juice, coffee and made to order dishes. I’m looking forward to stopping in for a date night during one of their weekly, 4 course wine dinners hosted on Friday’s at 6pm. I’ve been a huge fan of the buffalo chicken wrap for years but my husband is always partial to one of the daily specials like fried oysters and stoneground grits. On top of running her new restaurant, she is also a highly sought after caterer for weddings, corporate events and private parties. She does all of this with grace and a smile while raising two sweet boys. Johanna puts so much heart into her delicious dishes and her new space is a MUST try!
Ashley’s Espresso Parlour
Helga Street in Kill Devil Hills has always been a quiet little street that leads to the ocean, but recently there has been a whole lot of hustle and bustle on the east side. Ashley’s Espresso Parlour has quickly become a local hot spot for a quick caffeine fix or a great place to hangout with friends. When I stopped by to grab some content for this feature, I ended up in a long conversation with complete strangers and that’s truly the vibe that Ashley Linnekin and her husband Eric have created. Even though she has only been open for a few weeks, Ashley knows so many of her customers and their coffee of choice is in production as they are walking in the door. With a warm and gentle spirit, she truly makes you want to sit down and stay a while. With two little ones of her own, Ashley’s vision for the Parlour is to have her children join her after school for homework and a little bit of help with the shop keep. She dreams of traveling as a family and teaching her kids about the art of coffee roasting with the knowledge that she has collected from all around the world over the last 20 years of perfecting her craft. One of the things that Ashley shared with me was that she is always chasing a new goal and pursuing something to improve herself or her business. How lucky are her kiddos to get a chance to learn by an example like that? Stop by and try out the CocoNonna and sit down and enjoy the community that has developed on Helga Street!