The Greater Topsail Area Chamber of Commerce & Tourism is pleased to announce Mia’s Marketplace is the November Business of the Month.
SURF CITY — The Greater Topsail Area Chamber of Commerce & Tourism is pleased to announce Mia’s Marketplace is the November Business of the Month.
Mia’s Marketplace, located at 14061 NC Hwy 50 in Surf City, is owned by Sandi Lowry and her sister-in-law Pam Lowry. The business is three years old. However, the origination of the business is more than a decade in the making.
After vacationing at Topsail for more than 10 years, Sandi and her husband moved to Surf City. That’s when “the plan” for Mia’s Marketplace took shape.
They elected to name the store Mia’s Marketplace because Sandi’s three grandchildren called her “Mia.”
Once they had a name for the store, they sought out a location.
“We’re located on Highway 50, on the mainland about one-half mile before the Swing Bridge,” said Sandi.
“We’re in the original ‘Docksider’ building, which has great history as the former Holly Ridge train station, from the Camp Davis era. The building was cut in half, and moved — half to become Lanier’s Campground office, and half eventually became Mia’s.”
The train station lives on in its current reincarnation as a shopping center with Mia’s Marketplace in the original store, said Sandi.
“Once a location was secured, I asked my sister-in-law, Pam, to join me on this journey,” said Sandi. “We married brothers more than 30 years ago and are great friends.”
As co-owners of Mia’s, Pam and Sandi bring their special talents together to create a retail store that is full of new life and great merchandise.
But they are mindful of the building’s rich history. Their old-time candy shop within Mia’s is a little nod to the building’s history. They also use the beautiful antique cabinets from the original Docksider days.
“The Pantry is Pam’s brainchild,” says Sandi. “If a customer comes out of the Pantry with empty hands, they have more willpower than I do.”
The pantry offers something for every taste-bud craving, from the salty to the sweet.
“Pam’s Pantry” at Mia’s offers more than 200 candy items, including a variety of gummy items, licorice, jellies, chocolates, mints, just to name a few. A sugar-free selection is also available.
“You can also Pick-a-Mix of candy yourself,” Pam said.
Customers enjoy filling a bag with many of our childhood favorites. Pam said they have more than 50 items to choose.
“I love to see faces light up as customers reminisce over candies from their childhood,” Pam said. “They love the Mary Janes, Flying Saucers, Zotz, candy buttons, Teaberry gum and even wax lips.”
Artisan handmade fudge bars are the newest addition to the Pam’s Pantry. Made of Belgian chocolate, fresh cream, organic whole milk and cane sugar and natural flavors, the fudge bars are 50 percent less sugar and gluten-free.
Mia’s has not forgotten about salt water taffy. Just like the Docksider, customers can mix and match from more than 50 flavors to create a special mix. Customers can also select from bagged or boxed assortments of taffy.
“We also offer great snack items,” said Pam. “One of our local favorites is our Shuey pretzels, with a mild buttery taste.”
Other popular offerings include Wind & Willow dip and dessert mixes, honey, mustard and coffee.
The pantry’s popular jellies, salsa and pickled veggies are all grown and processed in North Carolina as part of the N.C. Farm Cooperative.
With 2,400 square feet, Mia’s is much larger inside than it appears from the outside. In attention to The Pantry, Mia’s also offers uncommon home décor, resort-type apparel, unique gifts, jewelry and fashion accessories.
“Alex & Ani bracelets are the hottest item right now,” said Sandi. “Mia’s has the largest selection in several counties.”
Alex & Ani bracelets are made in the U.S. with recycled brass. Each bracelet has a charm or tag with a meaning, many with a charity-driven purpose, Sandi explained.
Another favorite of customers and staff are Spiritiles, artisan-created block tiles designed in molten glass on precious copper. Each tile features an artist or author with a quote and a design.
“We encourage recycling and repurposing,” Sandi said. “Our wind chimes, night lights and tea light candle holders all are made with recycled glass — whether bottles, church windows, windshields or Depression glass — our featured artisans use it all.”
“I’ve always wanted to create a ‘marketplace’ experience where multiple types of products are offered,” Sandi said. “I also knew I didn’t want to be a typical gift store or beach-type store. The residents in the area need year-round services and retail, and Mia’s is here to provide an alternative to driving to Wilmington or Jacksonville. We are so pleased when our customers thank us for saving them to trip to Wilmington.”
Sandi said the staff at Mia’s Marketplace is what makes their store unique.
“Our staff is excited to come to work each day,” said Sandi. “They love our selection, which makes it easy and enjoyable to share with customers.”
The staff at Mia’s includes Becky Borneman, Betsy Williams, Michelle Klein, Karen Leitz, Tiffany Kirkpatrick, Kaylee Estrada and Jackie Tawes.
“The staff is ready to show you some of their favorite items including the Liztech collection of vintage jewelry, and Spartina linen and leather handbags,” said Sandi.
“We also have beautiful artisan-created pottery, jewelry, candles and sea glass creations, and even homemade chocolates,” she added.
Mia’s Marketplace also offers LunaPops, handcrafted, small batch, frozen ice pops made in North Carolina, based on traditional Mexican paletas.
“The result is a delicious pop that tastes really good and with wholesome ingredients,” Sandi said.
In the last three years of business, Mia’s Marketplace has been selected by residents as “Simply the Best” gift and specialty store for two years in a row.
“We are delighted when people stop in and tell us stories of coming to the Docksider when they were young,” Sandi said.
Stop in and see Pam and Sandi at Mia’s Marketplace. They welcome your shared memories of the Docksider and they urge customers to pick up taffy and see the new merchandise. Mia’s Marketplace is open Mondays through Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Thursdays 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., and Fridays and Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
For more information about Mia’s Marketplace call 910-803-0316 or follow Mia’s Marketplace on Facebook and Pinterest. Visit online at miasoftopsailisland.com.