Edna Conniffe established in The Mill End Store in 1936 as an outlet for Dan River Mills clothing fabrics. Edna would hop in her truck and travel to the mills to stock her shelves. As business grew, she sought out manufacturers who specialized in sheets, bedspreads and towels, expanding her inventory.
More diverse fabrics followed and clients soon began requesting custom draperies, and so, two of the store’s signature specialties today — handcrafted draperies and first-quality home textiles — became a staple in Fayetteville.
In 1975 Edna proposed her niece, Ann Lewis, buy the store. An aspiring artist with a business degree, she immediately felt at home at The Mill End Store.
With Ann at the helm, they moved from Donaldson Street to 3100 Raeford Rd. in 1976. Intended as a temporary location, business was so good so they stayed for 18 years. 1994 brought a move to the bustling Tallywood Shopping Center.
Interior designers and savvy clients came in such numbers that an expansion was needed. 2011 brought double the space, filled with thousands of bolts of luxurious fabrics. Demand for expert upholstery services, long offered by the Fayetteville institution, increased dramatically.
From a tufted silk casket liner for a beloved pet, to upgrading the upholstery for The Prince Charles Hotel during its Radisson days, the staff reveled in creative challenges.
Alas, April of 2016 brought troubling news: After 22 years they would need to find a new home.
Ann decided to retire.
Customers clamored, one even offering to purchase a building, so that this unique resource would not be lost!
After some soul searching Ann concluded that retirement could not beat being surrounded by beautiful fabrics, friendly, loyal clients and top notch employees.
The Mill End Store's new home at 2706 Bragg Blvd. in the Eutaw Shopping Center has brought in new and old customers alike.
On October 6, 2017 Babette Augustin became the third owner of this Fayetteville Institution.
After 32 years in photojournalism and design, this Washington, D.C. native took a leap of faith and spent a year studying with "Miss Ann."
Now, with new fabrics and trims arriving daily, Babette and her talented team are working hard to rethink, refresh and explore.
As Albert Einstein said: "Creativity is intelligence having fun."
...and we are having the time of our lives!