BLADENBORO — As the town of Bladenboro seeks to rebuild after Hurricane Matthew’s devastating flooding in October, one business owner is doing her part to brighten things up.
That bright spot exists at 109 South Main, where the window displays a beach scene complete with seashells, sand and an umbrella — and a lounging chair is topped with bright, cheerful clothing and a floppy hat. No sign (yet) indicates what business is housed inside, but that will soon change, too.
“I’m still waiting to hear back from the state about the name, but I didn’t see any reason not to go ahead and open,” said owner and Bladenboro resident Rona West.
March 1 saw the opening of Grace and Co. of Bladenboro, a boutique and tanning salon with two tanning beds and a variety of tanning lotions, as well as blouses, pants, and jewelry. Beginning in April, spray tanning will also be available.
“She’s got some nice things in here, and a good selection to choose from,” said Ann Storms, who was in the boutique shopping Thursday for new clothes to take on vacation.
“I’m a shopper, but I don’t want cookie-cutter stuff — I want something different,” said West of the line of clothes she will carry. “We’ll have things my (13-year-old) daughter would like, and some stuff I would wear at age 44. I think we’ll have a good combination of clothing and accessories for everybody.”
Though the shop is new, owning a business isn’t a first-time venture for West. She and her husband Rob previously owned tanning beds in Bladenboro but moved in 2005 for his job. After returning to the area, West held several jobs, but recently began contemplating owning a business again.
“Robert asked me what would make me happy, and I said, ‘I want to be in charge, and I would love to get into clothing’,” laughed West. “He said, ‘Why don’t you do it?’”
The business derives its name from the Wests’ daughter, Grace, and “and Co.” comes from the fact that “we’re incorporating not just clothing or just tanning, but we encapsulate everything.”
Grace and Co. of Bladenboro is open Monday through Friday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
“If tanning picks up, we’ll have extended hours,” informed West.
For more information, visit Grace and Co. of Bladenboro on Facebook or call 910-809-8034.
Chrysta Carroll can be reached by calling 910-862-4163.