Friday, January 13, 2017

Island Businesses

Recently I was looking over a 1990 issue of the Ocracoke Island News when I noticed a number of advertisements for businesses that are no longer operating on the island. Here is what I discovered.
  • 28 Businesses advertising in 1990 that are not operating today (how many of these do you remember?):
    • Maria's Restaurant
    • Whittler's Bench
    • Craig Garrish Construction
    • The Pelican Restaurant
    • The Lightkeeper's Inn
    • The Berkley Center
    • Sharon Miller Realty
    • The East Carolina Bank
    • The Boyette House
    • Island Hair Studio
    • The Doll & Gift Shop
    • Cafe Atlantic
    • The Island Inn and Dining Room
    • Home Port Realty
    • Merchant Mariner
    • Beach House
    • The Hole in the Wall
    • Sally Newell Interiors
    • South Point Seafood
    • Black Anchor Antiques & Collectables
    • Trolley Stop Restaurant & Deli
    • 3/4 Time
    • O'Neal's Dockside
    • Captain Ben's Restaurant
    • Emma's Beauty Shop
    • Ship's Timbers Windsurfing
    • The Old Post Office Shop
    • BW's Surf Shop
  • 21 Businesses advertising in 1990 and still in operation today:
    • Beachcomber Campground
    • Pony Island Restaurant
    • The Anchorage Inn
    • Ocracoke Waterfowl Hunting
    • Beach Outfitters
    • Bluff Shoal Motel
    • Howard's Pub
    • Crews Inn
    • The Island Ragpicker
    • Ocracoke Variety Store
    • Gaskill's Hauling
    • The Silver Lake Motel
    • Oscar's House B&B
    • Ocracoke Island Realty
    • The Pony Island Motel
    • Ann Ehringhaus Photographer
    • Village Craftsmen
    • Edward's Motel
    • Back Porch Restaurant
    • The Harborside
    • Ocracoke Child Care
Some of the businesses in the first category have simply closed. Most of those business owners no longer live on the island, but some have retired, and still live here. Other businesses have been sold, closed for a time, and then reopened under new management and new names.

We are happy to say that Village Craftsmen, established in 1970 by Philip Howard, continues in operation, now under the capable management of Philip's daughter, Amy.

Although Village Craftsmen is closed in January & February, be sure to stop by in the spring, or on your next visit to the island. We are regularly adding additional fine quality American handcrafts to complement our exciting assortment of pottery, glass, wooden items, jewelry, and much more.

Our latest Ocracoke Newsletter is Capt. Rob Temple's poem, "A Pirate's Christmas." You can read it hear:


  1. Anonymous8:34 AM

    I find the listing of the Post Office Shop rather curious. If one of your readers would be willing to share-- what type of business was there. Now I suppose it was called the POst Office shop because it is the former location of the Post Office. Which begs the question, what did the original Post office look like was it bank like-- once you walked in it was impressive, wood paneling, marble floors arches, fancy teller windows etc. Just curious or is OI trendy and changes with the current desire of the wave of visitor and their fancies in the shopping exercise. I would think a Kite shop would do well.

    1. The Old Post Office Shop was, indeed, a gift shop located in one of the old post offices. I am almost certain I have written about Ocracoke's post offices already. I will look for those posts and articles, and publish another post sometime soon. But I can assure you there was no impressive wood paneling, nor any marble floors, arches, or fancy teller windows.

  2. Anonymous8:40 AM

    There is a town in Georgia Helen Georgia which has decreed the shops will have an exteriot to "fool" the visitor they have stepped in to a Bavarian Village but actually they are in Georgia. Has OI thought to adopt a "theme" and have the exteriors exude a degree of uniformity such as paint the exteriors from a similar palette to present a sense of cohesiveness and a calming effect.

    1. Ocracoke's "theme" is its independent spirit. There will be no uniform exteriors here I'd venture to say.

  3. I remember many of the businesses on the list of no longer in operation. Really miss Cafe Atlantic and the Island House. The old restaurant in the Island House was a wonderful place. Especially on New Years Eve some years in the 90s. Howard's Pub will always be there even if no longer open 365 1/4 days each year.

    1. Meant the Island Inn. I was just at the Island House in Port Clinton on Lake Erie.

  4. Debbie Leonard10:38 AM

    We ate at the Pelican the first time I ever came to Ocracoke. I was wondering what the restaurant that was above the Slushy Stand was called. We ate there the first time I came camping on the island. It was in the early 2000's.

    1. Debbie, that was the Creekside Cafe. Although it has been out of business for many years, there is still a web page on line with their menu!!

    2. Debbie Leonard11:49 AM

      That picture is of the same building that now houses the O'bar. Did the Creekside start out above the Slushy Stand and then move?

    3. Debbie, yes, the Creekside Cafe started above the Slushy Stand, then moved to where the O'bar is today.

  5. Anonymous3:15 PM

    My parents started coming to Ocracoke in the 60's...and me,as a baby I the early 70's. I miss the Island Inn terribly because we stayed there every year and I have such fond memories of the way it used to be. Also Captain Ben's because I called it Gentle Ben's when I was little (maybe because of a TV show at the time...not sure). The list brought back wonderful memories! Thank you for posting!

  6. Wow, blast from the past! Some great restaurants on that list that I really miss. Also crazy to think of how many places probably came and went entirely between 1990 and today.

    Speaking of businesses, any word on if/when the brewery in the former Cafe Atlantic will ever open? Thanks!

    1. I do not have any idea when the new brewery will open. However, they continue working on the building. Maybe this spring or summer?

  7. Anonymous5:53 PM

    interesting to remember those places that I use to visit back then.
    when I was talking to someone during Christmas (during my visit there) them mentioned that they heard that the old island inn was too far gone to fix up and they were considering moving the original center section and tearing down the rest then just sell the property..this isn't true is it?!
    thanks, Mark

    1. Mark, the Island Inn is, indeed, for sale. I have not inspected the property, but have been told that it would need extensive repairs. Many islanders have expressed concern about saving the older, center section, but I am not aware of any individual or organization with the funds and resolve ready to tackle the project.

  8. Anonymous3:40 PM

    Civium in moribus rei publicae salus

  9. Anonymous11:22 PM

    Grew up in Plymouth, my folks and me visited often dad was an ole salty, he often took us to “teaches hole” rented clam rakes from a fella near the Trolley Stop, I think inside the island store. I wish I could exactly recall where we walked down to get ankle/ hip deep and I recall jumping on dad when a horseshoe crab skirted by me. We ate burgers at the Trolley stop, grabbed groceries from the lil store where we rented the clam rakes. It was so so long ago.