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Mother, daughter bring custom embroidery to Kenly

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KENLY — Granny’s Barn, which offers custom embroidery and vinyl gifts for all occasions, has opened in downtown Kenly.

Joy Woods Wright, 42, and her mother, Annette Woods, 69, own the shop, which is in the former Kenly News building on West Second Street at South Gardner Avenue.

Wright, a Kenly resident for 10 years, said the older building needed a few updates before she and her mom could open for business. “I was very excited to put the ‘Open’ sign on the door,” she said.

Woods, the “Granny” in Granny’s Barn, lives in Mount Olive but plans to move to Kenly as soon as her new home here is finished. She grew in rural Wayne County, where her mother taught her how to sew on a treadle-type Singer Sewing machine.

Early on, Woods said, she used the machine to turn chicken-feed sacks from the family farm into dresses and other clothing. Later, as a high school student, then wife and mom, she kept sewing, both making and mending clothes.

After her children were grown, Woods attended classes at Johnston Community College and worked at several jobs. In 2004, her husband, Robert, decided she needed an embroidery machine.

“Opening a business at that time never entered my mind,” Woods said.

Like her mom, Wright likes to make things. She worked in banking, but after becoming a wife and stay-at-home mom of four, she turned to flower arrangements, cake decorating, rubber stamping, scrapbooking and making Christmas ornaments.

In 2016, mother and daughter decided to turn their talents into a business and literally launched Granny’s Barn out of a barn in Mount Olive.

“We just got the idea and went from there,” Woods said.

Word of their shop spread, and soon, Granny’s Barn was welcoming customers from places like Raleigh, Smithfield and Clayton.

About year ago, mother and daughter decided they needed a storefront in a town. When the Kenly News building became available, they contacted building owner Ricky Richardson and soon signed a lease.

Wright said they liked the building because its features, including wooden floors, gave it the look of an old mercantile building.

“We rearranged a few things, but left the main shell and cleared out and opened up the space up front,” Wright said, adding that the table the newspaper used to lay out pages was perfect for working in vinyl so she kept it.

Items available from Granny’s Barn include towels, can coolers, shirts, baseball caps, auto decals, key and luggage tags, door hangers, garden flags, blankets, T-shirts and baby items, including bibs, blankets and onesies.

The owners plan to expand their product offerings and welcome suggestions from customers.

“We would love to sit down with you, take your imagination, and create a shirt to wear to your special event such as family vacations, sporting events or milestones like graduation,” Wright said. “If you can dream it, we will try it.”

Mother and daughter said they plan to have family friend George Arant, former pastor of Kenly Missionary Baptist Church, come by the last weekend in February to bless the business.

“Everything has happened in God’s time,” Wright said. “Being a Christian-run business, we wanted to keep God in the middle.”

We are excited to be a part of Kenly and to be able to further our business here,” she added.

Granny’s Barn is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesdays, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesdays, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays, and 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays.

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