One of the Home Furnishings Association’s newest members launched its first retail store in a historic setting in Wilmington, N.C. Silverhammer Design opened its doors July 26 in The Cotton Exchange, two blocks from the Cape Fear River waterfront in the Port City’s thriving downtown.
Silverhammer, owned by Lorrie and Dennis Brewer, calls itself a design-and-build company. Dennis makes furniture in his workshop in coastal Brunswick County, N.C. Lorrie is an artist. After moving from the Charlotte, N.C., area last winter, they thought the time was right to add a retail component to their business.
There’s a lively arts scene in downtown Wilmington, said Lorrie, who quickly joined the local arts council and serves as a host for Fourth Friday gallery tours.
In Charlotte, the Brewers did upfitting for restaurants and brewpubs, and they’ve done some of that work in Wilmington, too. But the new store is taking all of Lorrie’s time these days while Dennis continues to craft furniture. They sell his products as well as compatible works by local craftsmen and artists.
The Cotton Exchange served as a home for exporters of agricultural products in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Today, the Port of Wilmington accommodates large freighters a few miles downriver, and The Cotton Exchange features restaurants and shops. It’s a popular destination for locals and tourists, but “we’ve had a little bit of a slow start,” Lorrie said. Ironically, Wilmington’s downtown growth may be responsible.
“There’s a lot of construction around, and I think that’s impacted traffic,” she said.