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History of The Ivy Cottage

the-ivy-cottage-wilmington-ncThe Ivy Cottage was opened in 1998 by the mother/daughter team of Sam Dunn and Kelaine Vargas. Sam (the mother) owned a bed & breakfast in Wilmington and Kelaine (the daughter) graciously agreed to help out there for a year before she went on to graduate school. Unfortunately, the B&B was a little too quiet for two people who had spent their lives living and traveling all over the world with the military, so the idea of The Ivy Cottage was born.

This idea did come with a lot of knowledge in the furniture and consignment business. Sam, who was an Army daughter and Army wife her entire life before moving to Wilmington, had an extensive background in furniture and oriental carpet sales. She also spent years as a volunteer in the Army’s resale shops. These consignment shops are set up to help Army families sell unwanted items so they don’t have to move them from one assignment to the next. Naturally, this was a great training opportunity for someone who would eventually see the need for such a business in Wilmington, North Carolina.

Kelaine spent countless hours with Mom (and without) exploring antique shops and flea markets in Europe and the United States. These adventures gave her a great love for and knowledge of antiques, old sterling and fine linens.

Armed with all of this knowledge and a great deal of courage, hard work and luck, Sam and Kelaine opened the first Ivy Cottage at 3020 Market Street. Fortunately, it was a success from the day it opened and was filled to overflowing within a year. By 2001 the second building was built right next door at 3030 Market Street, and in 2004, Cottage 3 and the warehouse were acquired at 3100 Market Street.

Today, under new ownership, The Ivy Cottage is still the iconic store that it has always been and continues to grow and thrive.

And, now that you know that story, here’s a brief history of our wonderful town. Please stop by and visit for awhile. Bring your children and dogs in too, we love meeting new people and showing off our store. We also love bragging about our beautiful city!


History of Wilmington North Carolina

the-ivy-cottage-fort-fisher-pictures-about-usWilmington, North Carolina is a charming seaport town founded more than 275 years ago on the Cape Fear River. The city was very active during the Revolutionary War and the Civil War, and played a strategic role as the home port for many Southern ships that supplied the armies of General Lee. In fact, Fort Fisher, just south of Kure Beach was the last port in the South to fall to the Union Army.

After the Civil War Wilmington became the largest seaport in North Carolina. This brought prosperity to the area which was reflected in the building of thousands of beautiful homes. Many of these homes still exist along the streets of the city, giving Wilmington the largest historic district in the state of North Carolina, and one of the largest on the National Register of Historic Places. Take time to stroll through the Historic District or ride in a horse-drawn carriage through the streets lined with stately mansions, magnolias, and Spanish moss. Walk along the Riverwalk, a waterfront park that overlooks the Cape Fear River and the Battleship North Carolina or tour the city and the river from the decks of a sternwheel paddleboat.

If you are not fond of historic homes and old battle fields, Wilmington also has wonderful white sand beaches, at Carolina Beach, Kure Beach and Wrightsville Beach. It also has dozens of championship golf courses that are open year round. And, believe it or not, Wilmington has the largest film industry in the US after Los Angeles and New York. Hundreds of movies and television shows have been filmed in and around the city and it is not unusual to spot a famous face dining in one of our fantastic restaurants or shopping in The Ivy Cottage.