How a few hobbies and hidden talents helped a local crafter create a successful business.
Tammy Puryear, owner of T’s Barnquilts and Crafts, “became an artist by happenstance.” Born and raised in Roxboro, Puryear said she actually wouldn’t consider herself artistic at all. In fact, she spent the majority of her life working in a mill, where she followed systematic routines for years. That would all change in 2021, when Puryear found out one of her favorite stores was closing. “I was devastated,” she said, “I just had to do something.” On Oct. 1, 2021, the business officially became her own.
While Puryear was not quite sure where to start, she had already been making barn quilts and dog beds for about five years. Initially, the bed-making started as a hobby. At the time, she was working for Larry Cole, at America’s Mattress, who would let her take home the extra fabric swatches. Seeing this as an easy way to utilize extra materials, Puryear began stitching the swatches together, filling them with memory foam, and selling them to local pet owners.
When some recent customers were in need of a bed for their cat, she even made accommodations for a smaller bed. They were so pleased with the result that they felt she should “up the price” in the future, and suggested she should consider donating part of her profits to the Animal Protection Society of Person County (APS). Humbled, Puryear reached out to Beth Townsend, “an icon in town,” who seems to always “pop up doing wonderful things,” specifically for animals. Now, $5 from each bed, as well as pillows, seat covers, and the CBD dog treats that she sells, goes to APS.
Beyond the Beds
In addition to the pet beds and dog treats, Puryear’s store is overflowing with a number of incredible things for people as well, including several hemp products. Her customers are pleased with the results they have experienced when using the products for a wide range of physical issues. “My customers are the reason I am here,” Puryear said, “I care to hear their stories and educate them as best I can.”
When Puryear took over the business, she knew she had to start “thinking outside the box,” especially since she didn’t feel as though she was a very “creative person.” Another hobby she dabbled in prior to opening the store was creating barn quilts, which she now customizes based on customers’ requests. Puryear says the first time she really considered herself “an artist” was after she was asked to create some barn quilts to be displayed in uptown Roxboro – an “honor” that still visibly takes her breath. Puryear has also created barn quilts that hang outside her shop in Hall’s Way in Roxboro.
After attending a painting class and speaking with others about her barn quilt process, she got the idea to offer classes of her own as well. For these, Puryear provides the barn quilt outline and the paint, which allows others to get a little taste of the experience. The connections made during this time drive Puryear, as she has fallen in love with the process of helping others learn to express themselves.
This is quite similar to the way that Puryear has continued learning new things about herself, including her own talents, since embarking on the journey of this career. Puryear has ventured out and started making unique pieces, such as bird feeders out of gourds and intricately painted rocks and seashells. “I even got beads and just started putting them on things to see what I could make,” she said.
Happy in Hall’s Way
There is no doubt that Puryear loves what she does, but another benefit of her work is loving where she does it. Puryear attributes a lot of what she has learned since taking over this business to the creative atmosphere she is surrounded by in Hall’s Way.
“I get to learn from the folks at the quilting store across the way,” Puryear said, “I visit them quite often and they’re always teaching me things that can help me expand my own business.” She spoke highly of everyone she has had the opportunity of interacting with, adding that her new neighbors at Incorrigible Cafe have done a great job of helping the place smell delicious since moving in.
While Puryear “never imagined [a few dog beds] would turn into this,” she notes that great things often happen unexpectedly. “I’m loving the variety of this journey,” she said, pointing out that it’s nice to not be doing the same thing over and over again like she was in her previous career. “I’m learning a lot about all kinds of crafting [as well as business ownership] and spending a lot of time wishing that I could’ve been doing this all along,” she concluded.
Shops at Hall’s Way
44 Gordon Street, Suite 20
Roxboro, NC 27573
Learn about the author at https://ncvamedia.com/authors/sara-coates/