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MADE Winners: Arts Category

By Staff Reports, posted Sep 15, 2023

Art in Bloom Gallery 

aibgallery.com
Year founded: 2015 

No. of employees: 5 

Top official: Amy N. Grant, owner 

Company description: Art in Bloom Gallery presents original art by over 30 artists and is located at 6866 Main St. at Mayfaire Town Center. 

How has your company grown since its inception? “Since 2015, Art in Bloom Gallery has doubled in square footage and has expanded our online presence at aibgallery.com. The gallery has shipped art to Canada, Mexico, England and throughout the U.S. The numbers of customers, artists and employees have also increased substantially along with our sales, events and community outreach.”

How has your product helped impact the region’s economic development? “Art in Bloom Gallery is a small business making a major impact as an employer, retail establishment and community leader. We sell original art and promote local artists within and outside of our region. The gallery contributes to the region’s economic development by making our artists and community more visible as an arts destination.”

What are your future goals for the company? “Future goals include continuing to evolve and experiment as we go into our ninth and 10th years as a gallery in our expanded space at Mayfaire Town Center. ”
 
 

South Castles Swimwear

southcastles.com
Year founded: 2010

No. of employees: 1

Top official: Caroline Castles, owner/designer

Company description: South Castles began in 2010 as CastlesCouture, a women’s lifestyle brand offering high-quality resort wear and ready-to-wear clothing and swimwear. Over the years, the company has rebranded to South Castles and specializes in swimwear. It’s a vegan, eco-friendly women’s clothing and swimwear brand that hand-makes every piece in Wilmington, according to the company’s nomination form.

How has your company grown over the years? The company began as a senior project for Caroline Castles, the owner, during her entrepreneurial studies at UNCW, according to the nomination form. What assisted in her graduating with her bachelor’s degree turned into a worldwide brand that wholesales across the country and even made its way to be stocked in Brazil, the nomination stated.
 

The Quartermaster 

Year founded: 2022 

No. of employees: 2 

Top official: Michael Grimwood, owner 

Company description: “We produce handmade vegetable-tanned travel and daily life bags and a variety of other leather products. We strive to offer heirloom pieces that can be passed down. We also make a full line of all-natural apothecary items from skincare to daily wellness.” 

How has your company grown since its inception? “It is a very young company that has tripled its storefront size prior to the first completed year.” 

How has your product helped impact the region’s economic development? “Customers walk into the store for the first time and say that they feel like they are in Florence, Italy. One of our higher goals is to change the landscape of retail in historic downtown Wilmington. We do this by bringing locally made, high-quality, intrinsically valuable products … . We are spearheading the ‘new next’ by being open when the most people are downtown, late into the evening.”

What current challenges are you facing? “Parking downtown. Law enforcement not enforcing noise and other ordinances designed to make sure the experience of the public downtown is pleasant.”

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