For the better part of two decades, Carolina Street in Fenwick Island has been outfitting homes and gardens with an eclectic mix of one-of-a-kind pieces, including artwork, furniture, jewelry, home decor, woodworks, pottery and much more.
Owner Dee Dee Phillips and her husband, Paul, first opened their doors beside Nantucket’s restaurant in Fenwick, and ever since, customers can’t seem to get enough. This season, following a short move to the adjacent building, and still on the store’s namesake street, Carolina Street has seen continuing business from new, curious faces and others who have come back again and again.
“Our property went from a lease to year-to-year,” Dee Dee Phillips explained. “After a lot of soul-searching, my husband and I agreed it just made sense to make this building work. People knew we were here, and this is what we do. They are finding us, and many are seeking us out. We’ve watched generations come through the doors, and it’s nice to be here for them.”
While Dee Dee Phillip’s experience with high-end antiques in the past has brought some of the inspiration over to Carolina Street, the pieces at the shop in Fenwick Island offer a wide variety, from classic accents to more modern works. With a degree in interior design, Phillips has put her senses to the test, too, bringing in what she thinks customers will like.
“We have different stuff every year that keeps people stopping back in,” she said, “but there is definitely a certain look and quality to everything you find.”
Outside, the fenced property features lawn and garden ornaments, statuettes and birdbaths, while the inside opens up to an immense selection of interior trimmings. Pillows and furniture throughout several showrooms adorn the floor, while paintings, metal works and wood carvings line the walls. Every turn within features original, ornate pieces, whether it be candles and soaps or sofas and functional furniture. Chandeliers and lamps provide a variety of accents to a room, as well.
“Over the years,” said Dee Dee Phillips, “I have tried to keep the same style of products. We carry a lot of different things, but for the most part, it’s stuff you’re not going to see anywhere else. There’s no telling what they are coming in for, either. Most people don’t know what they want until they see it.”
From working exclusively with individual artists and crafters to traveling to large gift shows that have taken her to New York City, High Point, N.C., and Atlanta, Georgia, Phillips has kept her options and eyes open throughout the years.
Customers, such as Kara Sisson, who makes it a habit to stop in whenever her family returns to the beach from their Virginia home, can constantly find new items featured at Carolina Street.
“I first started coming here five years ago,” Sisson said. “I like the uniqueness of the products. She has very good taste, and the prices are all reasonable. I usually see something and come back later to get it, but I hardly ever leave the store without something. It’s a great place to find things for our home in Virginia, for the beach house or gifts for friends and family.”
Offering her products at affordable prices was something that Phillips said she has always made sure to do.
“I never wanted things to be too expensive here,” she said. “I have customers who live in double-wides and customers who live in mansions. When I first opened up, I wanted someone to be able to come in and find something nice, even if they were only going to spend $20.”
Though the store is located just a stone’s throw from the ocean, the theme of the merchandise at Carolina Street covers a wide range.
“There are some beach-themed items here,” said Phillips, “but that’s not all we have. I’d say more than half of the things we sell here are for customers to take back home to their year-round houses. It keeps them coming back.”
Phillips also credits her husband and staff with the business’ success over the years.
“I have great people working with me,” she said. “They work really hard, and the customers really appreciate everything we do for them.”
Carolina Street is located at 40118 East South Carolina Street in Fenwick Island, behind Atlantic Shoals Surf Shop and adjacent to Nantucket’s restaurant. They are open seven days a week, from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. through September. Later this fall, hours will be cut back. For more information, including previews of some items available, visit www.carolinastreet.com. For additional questions, call them at (302) 539-2405.