At Carolina Home and Garden, we have worked to build wonderful relationships with our local vendors in the community; they supply us with their products so our customers get to enjoy a wide array of goods made right here in North Carolina. Our vendors represent local folks in small businesses, folks that literally are our neighbors and small business owners. From our baked goods to our produce and meats prepared right here in our kitchen, we keep it local. In getting to know our vendors, it didn’t take long to realize each one has a unique story, a story we’d like to share with you.
This month we’d like to shine the spotlight on the story of Karen’s Baked Goods. As a little girl growing up in the area, Karen frequently accompanied her grandmother to the Morehead City Curb Market on Saturday mornings to buy fresh produce and baked goods. Karen recalled her grandmother was particularly fond of coconut cake and would always buy half a cake as a special treat. Flash forward a few decades, and Karen is now making the same delicious cakes and desserts she remembers from her own childhood and selling them in the same market she once frequented as a child.
Karen shared with me the story of how she came to know the Watson family and sell her desserts at Carolina Home & Garden. Our Logan visited the Curb Market one Saturday morn with her Grammy and fell in love with Karen’s baked goods. One of Karen’s favorite childhood memories became a memory for Logan herself as the two ladies sampled Karen’s baked goods and knew they had come upon a special baker with a special talent. Soon after, Carolina Home & Garden started featuring these same sweet goods and Karen started another chapter of her story. A special moment for Karen was when Logan asked her to serve her special baked goods at her wedding reception at the Watson House.
Karen grew up right here and embraced life in East North Carolina, active both at West Carteret High School and in her church. Life took her to Maryland for many years but eventually Karen came back to North Carolina, where she currently works in Raleigh. Although she loves her career, Karen’s roots have called her back home to the coast. Karen bakes her apple cakes, lemon pound cake, blueberry muffins, peanut brittle, key lime pies, oatmeal lace cookies and yes, even that coconut cake, and drives to the market on weekends to sell her baked goods at the very same Curb Market she used to visit as a child with her grandmother. That’s truly coming full circle.
What gives Karen her drive and passion to work full time in a rewarding career, come home and bake, then drive two hours to offer them at the Curb Market? Karen says she has always been a planner and believes in her dad’s advice, “Success is where preparation and opportunity meet” and her planning has paid off well. That is the definition of success, my friends.
The Morehead City Curb Market is located at 1311 Evans Street and open Saturdays year-round from 8 am to 1 pm with an evening market the 3rd Thursday of each month throughout the season. At 95 years old, it is one of the longest running open air markets in North Carolina, with many vendors selling soaps, crafts, jewelry, artwork, candles, photography, clothing, flower bouquets, and of course, Karen’s Baked Goods.
What local vendor would you like to see in the spotlight next?
Written by Margo Hickman