Business gets more space for better service

Published 11:37 pm Thursday, August 16, 2018

A local brick-and-mortar business recently expanded to storefront space inside a new retail and office building on Bennetts Pasture Road.

The Embroidery and Print House has relocated to 5501 Bennetts Pasture Road in the new BLR Professional Building. The 1,350-square-foot store held a soft opening for customers on Aug. 6, and owners Pamela and Marshall Miller welcomed more than two dozen friends, Suffolk officials and eager customers for the grand opening on Friday.

“This has been a long time coming, and we are just so excited,” Pamela Miller said to the crowd gathered for Friday’s ribbon cutting. “I couldn’t get in here quick enough.”

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Pamela Miller provides custom embroidery and T-shirt printing services to churches, corporate offices and other local clients. Custom printed shirts are worn in local rec leagues like Bennett’s Creek Little League and the Bennett’s Creek Warriors football team, Miller said, and other small businesses.

Local artists and artisans also have space inside the Embroidery and Print House to sell their latest works. One of those artists is Joan Rapier, who retired from Suffolk Public Schools in 2008. When she’s not tutoring English as a second language, she’s keeping up with a painting hobby that’s been going strong for about a decade.

Her “Joan of Art” works are currently hanging inside the Embroidery and Print House.

“It’s fantastic. Pam is a good friend and has been for many, many years. I appreciate that she’s letting me display my artwork here, and I’m really happy for her,” she said.

Shoppers can peruse colorful backpacks, rain jackets, duffel bags, picnic baskets and more. The store is also filled with cards and other gifting essentials.

“There’s no reason to go anywhere (else) to get a gift,” Mayor Linda Johnson said at the ribbon cutting. “It’s right here at your door.”

The Millers have felt at home in the Bennett’s Creek community for years. Pamela Miller previously owned an embroidery business in Suffolk’s Driver community, then sold it when she and her husband moved to Louisiana for her husband’s Coast Guard post.

They moved back to Suffolk in 2013, and she received permission from the city to operate her embroidery and print business from their garage. Eventually business grew to need a bigger space, and she was thrilled when she learned about the new retail and office building on Bennetts Pasture Road.

“Bennett’s Creek is where my heart is,” she said. “I knew this is the place I wanted to go.”

The 5,000-square-foot retail and office building is owned BLR of Suffolk LLC and was completed in July. It represents a joint venture between Arthur Bradshaw, his father J. Dwight Bradshaw —the owner and operator of Bradshaw Dentistry at the site for more than 40 years — and the senior Bradshaw’s BLR partner, Ronnie Rountree.

All four of the building’s units are leased, including the younger Bradshaw’s Home Video Studio/ProMedia Video Services business.

“We don’t get a chance to do many of these nice facilities in this little part of the area, so this is really fantastic,” Councilman Roger Fawcett, who represents the Sleepy Hole Borough, said about the building.

The others leasing space in the building are Edward Jones and the Stitch Please yarn arts store, which is another small business benefiting from the foot traffic. The younger Bradshaw said part of the motivation for more retail space was to encourage Suffolk’s small businesses to expand their reach.

“It’s important to shop local and support family businesses, and any chance we should have to do that in this area, we should,” he said.

The Millers are also supported tremendously by their friends and family. Along with full-time associate Ashley Savage, their daughter, Crystal Bahr, and son-in-law, Scott Bahr, are helping with day-to-day operations.

“Without this crew right here, me and Marshall would not be able to make it,” Pamela Miller said with Marshall Miller, Crystal and Scott Bahr and the rest of their family at the ribbon cutting. “These are our backbone.”

Johnson said it’s small businesses like the Millers’ that are the “backbone” of Suffolk.

“It’s the small business and the people that come here and invest in our community,” she said. “In a day when bricks and mortars are disappearing to the unknown internet — which we won’t even bring up — you’re bringing back bricks and mortars.

“That’s a beautiful story, because the truth is that we can’t make it without the bricks and mortars and the backbone of small business. It keeps our community, and it keeps our personality.”

The Embroidery and Print House is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday and from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays. The store is closed on Sundays. Search “Embroidery & Print House” on Facebook or for more information.