Located in Selma, North Carolina, is DeWayne’s Country Garden, a full-service outlet center that offers concrete fountains, statuary and garden accessories, mums, live Christmas trees, women’s fashions, men’s attire, sweets and more.
While the center is home to many different offerings, it didn’t start that way. In 1991, the center began as a pumpkin and produce stand, which sat on a small patch of lawn. As the stand gained more business, founder DeWayne Lee was forced to move from the front lawn to a larger location. Four short years later, business grew “from pumpkins to pandora” and DeWayne purchased six acres one mile down the road from the original produce stand location.
Now, DeWayne and his high school sweetheart Tina Lee co-own the 42,000 square foot outlet center, which provides Selma and its neighboring communities with home and garden trinkets and treasures.
One popular household item that shoppers love are the porch boards by My Word!, a trademark of Pleasant Street Designs. While DeWayne’s has ordered products from My Word! since 2014, the porch boards are a fairly new item. What attracted Debra Raynor, DeWayne’s sister and store buyer, was their uniqueness and salability.
“For starters, I think people like the porch boards because of the price point of $29.99,” Raynor says. “It’s a good looking product, it’s weather proof and it’s also made in the U.S.A which is good because a lot of people are interested in products that are made in the U.S.A.”
Like many home and garden stores, DeWayne’s was forced to adapt to the orders following COVID-19. While they did not completely shut down, business slowed, and they lost a half a million dollars. Prior to that, however, the center received their initial order of porch boards in February and as soon as the store resumed operations fully, the porch boards were a success.
Lee thinks that’s because of the porch board’s home décor factor, especially during the pandemic.
“With everybody being at home and working from home, home has kind of been our symbol of family,” she says. “You take pride in your house now because that’s where you’re at all the time. And when you decorate the entrance to your home for others in society, that’s a welcoming thing to do. The porch boards help with that.”
As a buyer, Raynor says the most important aspect she looks for is shipping, especially during the mailing uncertainties of COVID-19. But My Word! fills orders quickly and ships in one week.
The porch boards measure 8 inches x 46.5 inches in size and come in a variety of colors and designs. Raynor says she’s especially looking forward to the Christmas designs because she knows they’ll be a success. She and Lee both recommend the porch boards to other garden centers.
“Just because of the success we’ve had so far, I encourage all centers to get them because I think they would be successful,” Lee says. “I don’t think they’re only popular in the South. You can put them on many types of porches like apartments and townhomes. People are always looking to enhance their entrances.”