Boutique featuring only items made in U.S. opens in Albemarle

A new boutique has opened in downtown Albemarle, featuring a variety of products from local vendors from across Stanly County and the region.

Local Boujee, started by friends Josie Ferguson and Shellie O’Daniel, features about 2,800 items from more than 30 vendors across the state and country, including candles, men’s toiletries, all-natural pet products, jewelry and holiday decor. But unlike other similar businesses, this one features items made exclusively within the United States.

In addition to its unique inventory, the shop also specializes in gift baskets for all occasions.

“You can walk into any boutique and find something cute made in China or Indonesia or India,” Ferguson said. “We’re trying to feature as many people as we can that are local that are doing their home-based business.”

The store is at 132 S. 2nd St. in the space that used to be Will’s Place.

“This is our little baby,” said O’Daniel, who lives in Rowan County. “We’re really excited about it. It’s definitely a different experience.”

Longtime friends and co-owners Shellie O’Daniel and Josie Ferguson.

Each month, Local Boujee will highlight a local vendor, having items displayed at the front of the store, along with a short backstory about the business.

“We’re growing our business but in turn, we’re helping other local vendors,” Ferguson said.

Ferguson first discovered the property was for lease when she was driving through downtown in May en route to making a deposit for Clayton Homes, where she is a sales manager. Having always wanted to start a retail business, she met with Lee Allen, broker and owner of Re/Max Town and Country in Albemarle, who took over management of the several buildings along South Second Street in January 2021, and signed the paperwork to take over the space.

After reaching out to family and friends to see what kind of business was most needed in Stanly County, Ferguson decided upon a boutique. She then approached O’Daniel, whom she calls her artistic friend, to see if she wanted to join the venture.

“I said, ‘Okay, I’ll open a boutique will you help me?’ ” Ferguson recalled. After bouncing ideas back and forth, the women decided to operate the store on a 50/50 partnership.

As for the name?

Ferguson jokes that many of her friends have referred to her as “boujee,” a word usually used to describe people or things that are high-class, though she says it’s more fitting to describe O’Daniel. They ultimately combined the term with their emphasis that all items be made locally, within the U.S., especially the Carolinas. They are in the process of trademarking the name.

The ultimate dream, Ferguson said, is to eventually expand and open several locations throughout the state.

The business will be open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.