For Angela Bobal, COVID-19 resulted in a very soapy 2020.
The owner of artisan boutique Grit & Grace ended up making nearly 40,000 bars of soap last year after implementing Facebook Live sessions at her store in Mebane on Friday nights.
Bobal (pictured below)
is in the midst of opening a second location in Wilmington of Grit & Grace, which was founded in Mebane in 2013.
Grit & Grace carries mainly handmade items, including a variety of bath and body products (soap pictured below)
all made by Bobal, jewelry, clothing and more.
The Wilmington store is expected to open next month at 200 Market St., one of two new stores
coming to the first floor of the three-story building at the corner of Second and Market streets.
Bobal describes the store as having a “unique, edgy, rock-and-roll vibe” with a lot of items by female artisans.
“We focus a lot on the importance and quality of handmade gifts,” said Bobal, who was previously a police officer in Durham before opening her store.
While the store in Mebane
will remain open, Bobal and her family, including her girlfriend, Tonia Taylor, and the younger of her two daughters, Shay Bobal, are moving to Wilmington. Angela Bobal's older daughter, Samantha, is a student at the University of North Carolina.
“We have always loved Wilmington. We vacationed there a lot over the years,” Angela Bobal said. “We looked at a lot of coastal cities. We've always loved the beach, but Wilmington just seems to have the right vibe for the stuff I sell and for us.”
She said she’s hoping to open the store by Azalea Festival weekend. The N.C. Azalea Festival takes place this year April 7-11.
Angela Bobal said the Facebook
Live broadcasts she started last year in Mebane will continue.
“For us, they were life changing last year ... when COVID hit we went immediately to doing the Facebook Lives, and we did them every single week,” she said. “I think I made almost 40,000 bars of soap last year during COVID.”
New merchandise is featured each week, Angela Bobal said.
“So every single Friday, you're seeing brand new products that come in the store. ... It was a saving grace for us.”
The sessions have broadened the store’s reach on the internet, she said, and she hopes to start a Wilmington edition.
“It just was a way for us to still get our products out there, and it reached a wider audience, so we ship about 100 packages a week out of the store across the U.S.”