What does a military wife do with her time while she waits for her husband to retire? Why, she opens a gift store, extraordinaire, and calls it “The Turtle Factory!”
Of course, it didn’t begin that way. Ann Krieger started out on a small scale, selling crafts that she and her husband, retired Gunnery Sgt. Ken Krieger made at their home. Once, when a friend came to visit, they looked around at all the “turtle” items they were making and said, “This place looks like a turtle factory!” The name stuck, and Ann and Ken went on the road selling their turtle decor and handmade sea treasures at local festivals and craft shows. When folks began to ask where her shop was located, Ann knew she had to get a business location.
Finally, in 1999, Ann found a small space in Sneads Ferry to display and sell her crafts. Over time, the business grew as vacationers returned year after year to take home souvenirs from the beach. Locals loved it too as a place to buy gifts and home decor. It wasn’t long before The Turtle Factory needed a bigger place to call home.
In 2010, Ann and Ken moved their thriving business into a 3,200 square foot facility on Highway 210 and the rest is…history! After twenty years of being in business, The Turtle Factory offers the same popular turtle memorabilia and coastal decor that people have always loved. But now, Ann and Ken have added even more wonderful things to treasure. There are glass cases of exquisite local artisan jewelry, baskets and shelves of nautical themed pillows, quilts, handmade candles, soaps, kitchen linens, painted, wooden signs, salt water taffy, shells, shark’s teeth, wardrobe accessories and ceramics!
Speaking of ceramics…One of the most important features of the store has become the “hands-on” section that appeals to the creative side of the shopper. Patrons love this option and some of them come to spend a morning or afternoon making their own, special souvenir of the beach or to make a gift for someone they cherish. The customer chooses a ceramic piece from the vast collection of ceramics, mostly made in-house by Ken, and takes it to the table to paint it to their liking. There are literally hundreds of ceramic pieces and paint colors to choose from.
If painting ceramics doesn’t seem like the customer’s idea of fun, Ann and Ken have other options of creativity available. Maybe designing a fabulous piece of beach jewelry is more interesting or painting a favorite beachy quote on a rustic wooden board sounds like fun. What’s so wonderful about the shop is that one can buy a beautiful coastal memento to take home or one can create (with their own little hands!) the perfect beach memory to gift or to show off to friends.
The Turtle Factory is a busy, happy shop. During any season of the year, school, church and birthday party groups make reservations to come and have a fun, creative event. On almost any given day, especially a rainy day. You know. That what-do-you-do-with-kids-at-the-beach-while-it’s-raining day. That’s when you can find the tables full of families that just drop by to spend a bit of their vacation time painting ceramic pieces they can take home with them. It’s a fun experience they will never forget! Literally “making” beach memories.
Ann and Ken have put their hearts, souls, and creativity together to make what Ann calls “a fun store.” As Ann says, “There’s not another place around here like it.” If you want to take a little piece of the beach home with you or want some DIY artwork, check out The Turtle Factory. Your creative self will thank you!
The Turtle Factory is located at:
1072 NC-210, Sneads Ferry, NC 28460