Like so many other business owners, Sible Winebarger was hit hard by the recession. She had opened an Oriental rug store in historic downtown Mooresville in 2004 and turned it into a small but thriving business. Then the economic meltdown hit, and after limping along for a few years she went out of business last summer. But even as Winebarger closed the doors on one business, she had plans to launch a new one. She took about six months to regroup and formulate a plan, and then opened Rugs and Relics on Mooresville’s N. Main Street about a block from her old store location. “It’s like starting over again,” says Winebarger. “It’s exciting and scary at the same time.” Originally from Hickory, Winebarger moved to Hilton Head for several years where she operated a rug and furniture store. She next relocated to New York City, where she worked at the iconic ABC Carpet, which first opened in 1897. She eventually returned to North Carolina and settled in Mooresville in 2004 to be closer to her family. She and her son Jaden, 5, live in Mooresville’s historic district in a circa-1880 house she’s completely renovated. While Winebarger flirted with the idea of opening Rugs and Relics elsewhere, she says she loves the small-town, laid-back appeal of downtown Mooresville and the fact that she can walk to work in about five minutes. At her new 2,000-square-foot location, which is in a prime spot next to Epic Chophouse, she offers an eclectic selection of items. While she still has a variety of rugs, Winebarger says she was determined to branch out and try other things. Oriental rug stores are already notoriously hard to keep afloat, and Winebarger says it’s especially difficult for her because it’s such a male-dominated industry, which played a role in her shuttering her old business. “I’m definitely in the minority and sometimes it can be hard.” Her new store offerings are mostly geared towards female shoppers, including antiques, jewelry, bath products, Mary Frances purses and accessories, and top-grain leather furniture. All her rugs are handmade and imported from across the Middle East, including Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, and India. Rugs and Relics also offers custom gift baskets for birthdays, holidays, and other special occasions, as well as interior design and staging consultations. Winebarger stresses she has a generous loan policy for all her rugs. “We let people try rugs for three to four days to make sure they work. You might love a rug in the store, but then you get it home and it’s too dark or too light, so we allow people to try it first.” Although she’s just getting underway with her newest endeavor, Winebarger already has her sites set on the future. “I think I’ve developed a great concept and I’d love to expand to other areas of Lake Norman,” she says. “But right now I’m happy where I am. Mooresville continues to grow and change for the better from when I started here almost 10 years ago. I just hope I can grow along with it.
Rugs and Relics 112 S. Main St., Mooresville 704-662-3141