Wrightsville shop would sell gourmet coffee, shark’s tooth jewelry

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A local resident hopes to open a shop in Wrightsville Beach where customers can pick up a custom handmade shark’s tooth necklace, a gourmet cup of coffee, or both.

“I would like to have people choose their tooth, and have the necklace made on site,” she said, referring to the large sharks’ teeth she collects during scuba diving excursions.

Audrey Longtin brought her proposal before the Wrightsville Beach Planning Board during the board’s Aug. 4 meeting. Her business, called The Work Shop, would share the building located at 86 Waynick Blvd. with Kohl’s Frozen Custard, which currently occupies most of the space.

Director of planning and parks Tony Wilson said Longtin plans to operate her business in a room Kohl’s currently uses for overflow storage and office space. He said the extra 400-square-foot room could be converted into a shop by adding a window and constructing a door, so Longtin’s store would have its own entrance.

Longtin said the business combines her passions of coffee brewing, jewelry making and scuba diving for fossilized sharks’ teeth. Her application submitted to the town states she has completed more than 500 dives and she wants to educate both locals and tourists about the world-class diving spots off Wilmington’s coast.

In addition to shark’s tooth jewelry, she said she would also sell sandwiches made offsite. The Work Shop would be open from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. December through March and 5:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. April through November.

“I moved here a year ago and I was always waiting for [shops]to open for coffee,” she said. “I think it would be nice to have somewhere that’s open a little earlier for the sunrise.”

Longtin’s proposed coffee shop is a permitted use, so she only requires a parking exception from the town to open. The planning board voted unanimously to recommend the board of aldermen grant her the exception. If she receives the aldermen’s approval, she said she hopes to open by spring 2016.

The planning board also amended town code to allow coffee shops to sell accessory items, like jewelry and T-shirts, but board members were concerned whether that would also give those shops freedom to sell alcohol.

Wilson said regardless of town code, N.C. Alcohol Law Enforcement, not the town, has the power to regulate alcohol sales. Longtin later assured board members she had no plans to sell alcohol.

“I’m very excited about the project so I’d like to open as soon as possible,” she said.

email emmy@luminanews.com

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