Women Entrepreneurs & Small Town America

If you walk downtown in Washington, NC you will see an array of unique businesses selling every thing from gift items and bakery products to furniture and apparel. That, in and of itself is not that unusual for small coastal towns in North Carolina. What is unusual is that a large majority of those are owned by women or a wife/husband team. At least 75% of our downtown retail and restaurants are women owned. 

Small businesses are unique to small town America. They don’t compete with the big box stores as they provide a different experience for the shopper. You have an opportunity to meet the Artist who painted the picture, the Sculptor who made the pottery, the Restaurant Chef who prepared your meal and the Shop Owner who followed their passion to open a business. They greet you with a warm hello and ask about your family if they know you or ask where you hail from if they don’t. Their interest is genuine and they are happy you have chosen their establishment to visit. 

Women seem to excel at small business development and are not afraid to meet the challenges of “Opening a Business”. The impact these businesses make on Washington’s economy cannot be understated. They provide a strong tax base, promote tourism and encourage people to move to Washington’s beautiful waterfront community. Many of these businesswomen are young mothers with many other demands on their time. Others are seasoned professionals who have retired but want to continue working on their own terms and some are women who have a passion they are pursuing. Each brings their unique vision to their storefronts. Each business depends upon the other for support. Women small business owners recognize the value supporting each other has on their success. If one business is successful that success can spill over to her neighbors business. The sharing of ideas and promotion of events ensures that visitors and locals have a positive shopping and dining experience. All work together for the common good.

Recently, several downtown women business owners decided to pool their resources, time and energy to support each other and drive business to downtown Washington. The Washington Women’s Business Co-op (WWBC) was established under the Non-profit umbrella of the Washington Harbor District Alliance. The main goal of the WWBC is to advertise and promote events in the downtown harbor district and to support other local businesses by promoting and sharing event and sale information.

 The WWBC along with other downtown organizations has a full schedule of events planned through 2019. There are late night shopping opportunities, parades, musical events and festivals. A  complete schedule is available at visitwashingtonnc.com or you can check with your favorite local, woman owned business for the latest information.

The WWBC hopes you will visit “Little Washington” soon and experience small town shopping and dining and at it best.

Content provided by WWBC.

Visit the Washington Harbor District


Little Shoppes & South Market Antiques: Where Antique meets Boutique and Boutique meets Fun. Antiques, Gifts, Jewelry . Open 7 days a week. Pet Friendly.

The River Girl Antiques: Graceful period antiques in an elegant shop. Gifts, furniture and accessories.

The Southern Nest: Lovely shop selling Vintage, Antiques, Home Decor items, Collectibles and Gifts.

Secret Garden Gallery & Boutique: Beautiful handcrafted  jewelry, fabulous boutique clothing and local original art & gift items.

Southern Grace Boutique: Trendy clothing, accessories  and jewelry that wont break the budget.

Big Bargain Furniture: Furniture for every room in the house. Large selection of recliners and mattresses.

The Purple Plume: Boutique store specializing in stationery and novelty office accessories, as well as, greeting cards and  distinctive gifts. 

Contemporary Art Exchange: Offers a continuous rotation of NC and National original art. A fresh experience each time you visit. 

Colleen Knight River Walk Gallery: Stunning original wood burned cards, cutting boards, tables and wall art. All at affordable prices.


Carryout by Chrislyn: Shop for Fresh prepared lunches, dinners and desserts. Delicious & healthy take home food items.

Grub Brother’s Bar & Grill: Hearty pub food including gourmet burgers, Craft beers and inventive cocktails. Open 7 days a week.

The Bank Bistro: Elegant restaurant housed in a historic bank building. Open Tuesday through Saturday at 4 pm and 10:00 am for Brunch on Sundays.

Back Water Jacks Tiki Bar & Grill: Fun bar and grill located near the river. Burgers, seafood, draft beers & festive cocktails. Live entertainment and outdoor dining on  Pebble Beach


Inner Banks Outfitters: Offering Kayak,  Bike and Paddle Board rentals, sales and repair. Sign up for  planned water events. Located right on the Pamlico River! 

Copper Canyon Wellness: Relaxing Day spa offering massages, facials and yoga classes. Perfect for a fun girls day out.

Arts of the Pamlico: Arts Council housed in the Historic 1913 Turnage Theatre. Art exhibits, concerts,  dance, movies, music. Check our website for current happenings.

Alexis Davis, Century 21 : Is it time to look for a new home? Alexis is the agent for you. She provides friendly and knowledgeable service.

The Pamlico House B & B: Beautiful historic bed & Breakfast on Main Street. Only one block from the waterfront. Easy walk to downtown shops and restaurants. Available for weddings and events.