By Pat Kimbrough The High Point Enterprise, N.C.
When she was putting together a plan for her new business, Annie Murphy knew that originality is a must.
The High Point woman, with help from her family, came up with what she believes is a niche among local entrepreneurs: Authentic NC Goods, a specialty gift store that sells only products made in North Carolina.
The shop recently opened at 1701-D N. Main St., next to Granny's Donuts in the row of businesses at N. Main Street and W. State Avenue.
"The idea just came from my love of North Carolina products, some of which had been accumulating in my house," Murphy said. "We have so many visitors in High Point, and nobody has all these things in one place. I just love all things North Carolina, and I think I need to spread the word."
She adopted the mantra, "From Here, Found Here" for the shop.
She spent months traveling across the state to meet vendors -- many of them well off the beaten path -- and convinced them to let her feature their merchandise in the store.
By way of example, for throw blankets, she found Pure Country Weavers in rural Polk County.
"That place is on the side of a mountain," she said. "They have about 60 people making these incredible woven products."
There are also Bertie County Peanuts, pottery and baskets from Jean's Shoppe in Bath on the coast and Black Mountain Studios pottery, to name a few.
Murphy has plenty of items from closer to home, including grits and biscuit mix from Old Mill of Guilford and a table devoted to the offerings of The Artist Jay, a Greensboro business that features jewelry made with recycled materials.
"In March, I went to a pottery festival in Hickory and my first purchase was two pieces by Phil Morgan," Murphy said. "I spent almost the whole summer (seeing vendors)."
She said help from her husband, Kevin, as well as her son, Nicholas, and daughter, Michelle -- all who work in marketing -- has been instrumental in getting her business off the ground.
"This was like a life change," she said. "I don't want to fail. I was really panicked about how many businesses come and go. I was most concerned with finances."
Murphy said the shop's location should give her a great chance for success. She said there is good foot traffic through the area, and she likes being across the street from the new visitor's center at the High Point Convention and Visitors Bureau, which is inside the High Point Chamber of Commerce.