pine and porch owner megan wallace

Megan Wallace, owner of the new Pine & Porch home decor store on Colonial Avenue in downtown Elizabeth City, poses for a photo at her sales counter on Wednesday.

Megan Wallace’s dream of owning a home decor business finally came true in May when she opened Pine & Porch on Colonial Avenue.

It truly was a dream deferred.

Wallace, a Raleigh native, had studied fashion and interior design at East Carolina University, and had been moving forward with plans to open her own business. At least she was until the economy threw her — and nearly everyone else in the world — a curve ball.

The year was 2008, and the U.S. economy had crashed, due largely to a housing market devastated by borrowers defaulting on subprime loans.

As a recent college graduate at the time, Wallace faced a career dilemma similar to that of other college graduates then. She took what ever work she could find, even if it was not aligned with her field of study. For instance, she once sold wedding dresses and for several years she worked in information technology.

Speaking from behind the sales counter at Pine & Porch, Wallace said she finally decided to open her own business after she and husband purchased the building at 105 E. Colonial Avenue last year.

“We’ve had this building for a year now,” she said, referring to the space that once housed the Pasquotank County Board of Elections office.

With the new building and with Wallace learning she was pregnant with her second child, she and husband Tony — an Elizabeth City native — were convinced it was time to open the new business, she said.

“We’re gonna do it,” Wallace said, of their decision.

Pine & Porch specializes in interior and exterior home décor items, such as locally handcrafted Adirondack chairs and tables made from pine. Tony also makes lampshades, bookshelves and other items on display. Other customer favorites so far have been Wallace’s line of scented candles and elegant tabletop ware.

“The dining room set that they keep out all year but never use,” she said.

Since opening, Pine & Porch has been well received by local shoppers.

“The community really showed up for us,” she said. “It’s been really popular.”

The smell of fresh pine mixed with the fragrant candles fill the air and give Pine & Porch a “nice-place-to-hang-out-and-relax” vibe.

That vibe is what Wallace is striving for in the kind of business she wants to run, she said.

“Making it not only a store but also an activity space, because I think the town needs more stuff like that,” she said.

One activity is hosting a night when customers can come in and paint their own coffee mug or other store purchase. Wallace also has a small room reserved where she displays the works of local artists, such as photographers and painters.

On one red-bricked wall there is a large-screened television, and she recently received her permit to sell wine and beer. She got the idea from similar shops in Raleigh, which offer customers coffee, beer and wine.

Pine & Porch is located at 105 E. Colonial Avenue across from the Pasquotank Library and can be reached by phone at (919) 608-0652. Visit the store on Facebook by searching Pine & Porch.