Business teacher leads by example with new store

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An entrepreneurship teacher is putting her money where her mouth is with a new downtown shop.

“I’m a full-time teacher, so I’m using entrepreneur concepts from the classroom and showing my students first-hand what it is like to own your own business,” said Haley Ward.

The 25-year-old Rocky Mount Prep teacher opened Haley’s Boutique in April. With children and women’s clothing, accessories and gift items, she is developing a loyal following for the small shop at 120 Goldsboro St. SW.

“I wanted to be more than just a clothing store,” she said. “I want to be a place where you can get cute, affordable clothing, but also serve the local community. I try to make everyone who comes through the door feel valued.”

Ward was born in Wilson and had always wanted to open a business. After graduating from East Carolina University, she found a position to share her knowledge with teenagers at the Rocky Mount charter school.

“I have always had an interest in fashion as well as being a business owner, so they just went hand-in-hand,” she said. “I know the downtown area is trying to develop and grow, so I wanted to be a part of that process and bring new, exciting things to the area.”

As Ward is the only employee, the store is open from 5 to 7 p.m. on Wednesdays before the Gig in the Park concerts and from 10 to 3 p.m. on Saturdays. She said she plans to set longer summer hours soon.

A grand opening celebration with giveaways, raffles and special sales is slated from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. on June 16. Visit www.facebook.com/haleysboutique3125/ for more information on the event and new merchandise.

“One of my favorite Bible verses is Proverbs 31:25 where it says, ‘She is clothed with strength and dignity. She can laugh at the days to come,’” Ward said. “That really drove me to be able to open this and set an example for others because you can do anything you set your mind to do.”

Giving Back

Two Men and A Truck of Eastern North Carolina collected more than 5,000 items during the 11th Movers for Moms, which seeks to contribute to domestic violence resource organizations in Wilson and Pitt counties. Franchise owner Brian Churney said the effort was a tremendous success, more than tripling the local collection in 2017.

“We do this program every year and every year I am blown away by the community’s support,” Churney said. “People who choose to either donate or be a donation site do so with enthusiasm and without hesitation. It really feels like we’re doing something good and having an impact.”

Roughly 1,500 pieces of clothing, furniture and care items will be dropped off in the coming weeks at the Wesley Shelter.

“We had 17 donation locations, including four in Wilson, and had several customers donate items as well,” he said. “We look forward to growing the program even more next year.”

Extra! Extra!

Western Sizzlin’ has been in Wilson for more than four decades and owner Bob Bass said honoring the local community was an essential component to recent remodeling efforts.

“We’re trying to capture some of the local highlights of Wilson and the whirligig park is absolutely amazing,” he said. “Until you go out there on a windy day and spend some real time there, you don’t realize how fabulous it is and it is the same with the rose garden.”

The whirligigs took center stage in one of the dining areas with photographs by Duffy Healey made into murals, which will be unveiled Thursday. Bass said the whirligig room is finished and he plans to pay homage to the Wilson Rose Garden at the city Operations Center next.

“We’re not a brand-new building,” Bass said. “But once you go through the front door, you don’t feel like you’re in a restaurant with that much age on it. We’ve been working on the remodel for several years and I think our customers will like the result.”

The restaurant is open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays at 101 Bruton St. NE. For more information, visit www.western-sizzlin.com/.

Got an idea for news to include in next week’s Main Street Minute? Don’t hesitate to reach out to me at 252-265-7821 or bhandgraaf@wilsontimes.com.