One Area Business Stays Open During Tough Times

By: Christine Kennedy
By: Christine Kennedy

In these tough economic times, many businesses are feeling a serious pinch. So when i stumbled upon two business owners in Carteret County who've been open since 1981, I had to ask how they've done it. A mom and pop store that's been able to survive Fortune 500 chains and even hurricanes.

Inside Evelyn Clyde Harris and Jay Bumtus' front street shop, The Peddler, the items are reasonably priced and the conversation lively.

"I just love people, I love meeting new people and love seeing them come back every year...Families every year," Evelyn Clyde Harris said.

Every year since 1981 for Evelyn, she's owned the business. Her husband Jay joined in 16 years ago. During their journey of being business owners and workers the two have met quite a lot of people and seen their share of successes and failures of surrounding businesses as well.

Evelyn said, "We've seen a lot come and go, hopefully a lot more will stay because we need it."

The secret to their success comes in part from their mindset. As Jay says it best, he may never be rich, but his door will remain open.

Jay Bumtus said, "A lot of people come in they wanna open a business they say they want to have a big yacht, a flat screen TV, they want to make a whole bundle of money and that doesn't really happen, it's like fishing, some days you gonna get some, some days you aren't"

Jay says by changing every 6 months and having a new look in the store constantly and knowing the area and the people he's able to keep things fresh and keep people coming back.

Evelyn says, it's all about the getting to know you chit chat that Evelyn says keeps people coming back, "It should be an experience and believe me, when your butt leaves here you've had one."

The two also say the other thing that sets them apart is the fact that they're a gift store and not a tourist store. They've got 67 different countries represented with all the items in their store.

And the only thing they sell with the word Beaufort on it is the hot sauce, which is locally made.


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  • by jay on Dec 30, 2009 at 10:03 PM
    Thankyou for your true story.Evelyn was so proud of her 15 mins. of fame after 28years. Ms Kennedy and others did not know the pain my wife was in. Evelyn left us two weeks later. The Peddler's door is still open. We are still here in heart and soul.
  • by alicia Location: tonga on Jul 15, 2009 at 06:33 PM
    It's so great to see them get the recognition they deserve for sticking it out for so long. I've seen the ups and downs they've been through since the two of them met 18 years ago and it's been no walk in the park! They've done a great job of keeping things fresh and entertaining after all these years! All the best! ps: It's spelled Bumpus. I should know - I am one :)
  • by lee harris Location: morehead city on Jul 8, 2009 at 04:22 PM
    what a fantastic piece. Only is jay bumpas. This is my mom"s shop and she has worked her butt of for years to make it a great place to shop. I wish her all the best. Everyone should atleast visit the shop and judge for yourself. You won't find what she has in wally world. Love you mom !!
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