031519 Ghost Harbor

Thomas and Tabitha Reese, co-owners of Ghost Harbor Brewing Company in Elizabeth City's downtown, show off the medal and certificate they received from the N.C. Department of Commerce's Main Street Program for being named a "Main Street Champion," Thursday. The Reeses were honored along with 41 other Main Street Champions during a ceremony held in Salisbury on Thursday to honor citizens and groups that have made an impact in their community's downtown.

State officials hailed “Main Street Champions” on Thursday, including Elizabeth City microbrewers Thomas and Tabitha Reese.

The Reeses, who own and operate Ghost Harbor Brewing Company, joined 41 other honorees from across the state in a ceremony held in Salisbury.

The N.C. Department of Commerce and its Main Street program recognized the honorees for not just investing in downtowns, but in taking “extraordinary pride in their downtown revitalization initiatives and the vitality of their communit(ies),” in the words of Main Street and Rural Planning Center Director Liz Parham, who joined in announcing the winners by press release.

“We’re both certainly honored” and “humbled” by the award, the Reeses said in an interview after the award ceremony.

Elizabeth City officials nominated the Reeses for the recognition, they said, and they were grateful to not only be honored, but to join and hear from other Main Street Champions from across the state at Thursday’s ceremony.

Notably, the Reeses’ community contributions also won them “Business of the Year” for 2018 from the Elizabeth City Area Chamber of Commerce last month. The Chamber recognized the Reeses for helping spur redevelopment of the downtown Pailin’s Alley, and for supporting numerous other downtown and community initiatives and groups, including the Albemarle Area United Way.

As he remarked then, Thomas Reese said the couple’s mindset is to try to find opportunities in many forms, and say “yes” as much as they can.

Going forward, the Reeses said they’re looking forward to continuing to grow their business. They’ve started canning beer now — and the first few cases they produced sold out in the blink of an eye. Their plan is to develop a core line of canned beers, plus special releases, and distribute them regionally, with a focus on the Outer Banks.

They’ve even gotten requests to ship some product westward, including to Raleigh and Asheville, and Reese said it’s an honor to draw interest from other communities that already have a strong microbrewing presence.