Winter 2020
Occasions Just Write By Debbie Eisele

The store’s unique location in the historic Cotton Exchange draws locals and travelers alike

Located in Wilmington, North Carolina, Occasions Just Write resides in the historic Cotton Exchange building. In the shop, owner Peggy Mahan curates an eclectic mix of stationery and gift merchandise. Mahan purchased the store with her daughter, Kelly, almost seven years ago.

Occasions Just Write Janet left Peggy right
Owner Peggy Mahan (right) and her sister Janet (left).

Peggy, inspired by her sister Janet who is an artist, bought the store and a home, all in one weekend. At the time of the purchase, Peggy lived in Massachusetts and was grieving the loss of her husband, Jim. Family members lived in the North Carolina area, which appealed to Peggy and Kelly who were in need of a good support system.

Occasions Just Write stationery and custom invitations
Greeting cards are the number one seller for the store and custom stationery is another top-seller.

The store’s flamingo quill logo, which Kelly created, honors Jim, representing happy memories of a birthday prank played on Jim that turned into a tradition with a collection of flamingos. Peggy also honors her husband by displaying that entire flamingo collection each May, when the store also holds auctions and collects donations to give to local charities.

The store’s unique location draws locals and travelers alike. “The Cotton Exchange is modeled after Faneuil Hall in Boston and is a fixture in the Wilmington community, and many tourists come through the store who are new and repeat visitors,” Peggy explained. 

Exterior image of Occasions Just Write
Occasions Just Write creates eye-catching window displays that draw customers inside the store.

Located at street level, the store engages shoppers with its window displays. Once inside the 1,200-square-foot retail space, shoppers find a bounty of options, from local art, to postcards and over 13 lines of greeting cards and partyware, including napkins and birthday candles. 

Gifts, stationery, custom invitations and writing instruments are also available. She stocks cards from Papyrus, Lifeguard Press and others. Stationery and partyware items are sourced from Peter Pauper Press, Carlson Craft, along with other vendors, and Peggy attends AmericasMart Atlanta to develop her curated mix. 

Occasions Just Write partyware display
Partyware is good seller for Occasions Just Write.

“For me running a business is about the people. I try hard to fulfill customers’ needs and special requests,” Peggy said. “We offer the touch-and-feel approach and feel that is so important. I hear from customers, especially brides we deal with, that our customer service is an asset to the business.”  

Occasions Just Write Pop up card display
Displays are eye-catching and offer just the right mix of product for customers to peruse.

Best-Sellers at Occasions Just Write

  • Home-décor: Cape Shore, Boston International, and Willow Tree by DEMDACO
  • Stationery/Greeting Cards: Papyrus, Carlson Craft, Lily Pulitzer from Lifeguard Press, and Peter Pauper Press
  • Artist Supplies: Caran d’Ache Art 
  • Partyware: Castleberry
  • Miscellaneous – Blenko Glass

Debbie Eisele

Debbie Eisele is the managing editor for Gift Shop Plus, which now includes museums&MORE, and Stationery Trends. Eisele is also the managing editor for a variety of specialty publications including: The Guide, Holiday Shop and Celebrations & Occasions.

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