We recently celebrated our 5-year anniversary of moving to Elizabeth City. When Chris Clay came home a little over five years ago and told me we got orders to Elizabeth City, I’m not going to lie: I was mortified.

But I was also uneducated and had only gone by the negative options of others. It took me about two years to get used to a small town and my spoiled self not to complain that I had to drive 45 minutes to any “real” shopping. (I apologize for anyone who met me back then.)

Now, let’s fast forward five years later. We’ve bought a home, a business, we’ve built a life, have met some of the kindest and most amazing humans ever and we have honestly a wonderful life. And anytime we travel anywhere that has “real” shopping, I can’t wait to come back to our peaceful little nook.

Now don’t get me wrong: we’ve had and still have till this day, an array of challenges and struggles. We deal with our own personal demons, marriage and parenting challenges, our own physical/medical issues and a pretty nice list of things that would make anyone crawl into a hole and not wanna come out.

And let’s not even mention all the lovely curve balls that COVID-19 has thrown our way — in all areas of our lives, both personal and business wise.

But with that being said, I love our town. I love our family and what we’ve built here. I love our friends. I love our life, not because it’s perfect and problem free but because of who I share it with.


I’m grateful for every struggle, every door shut on our face as much as I’m grateful for every success and every single door that has opened for us. All of it has helped us be who and where we are today. Success and all the good things we’ve created has not come easy; it’s taken lots of sacrifice, dedication, tears, long nights, discipline and a whole lot of faith.

2020 may have been one of a crazy ride so far but it doesn’t take away all of the amazing things we’ve lived so far and it’s shown me and reminded me of what and who’s really important.

I’m so excited for what the future holds and I can’t wait to see what the next five years will bring. I’m even more excited that I get to share it all with you. So do not go too far away, you do not want to miss all the goodness that is brewing on this side!

ZARIBEL CLAY

Elizabeth City