Sweetest Beginnings, a custom-curated gift shop, is moving from its “tiny shop” to “the big shop,” in the heart of the West Avenue District.
📍 Kannapolis (Downtown) 135 W A St, Kannapolis, NC 28081
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Sweetest Beginnings has come a long way since its inception in 2007 when owner Susan McRae discovered her talent and love for stationery design. What started as a project born while waiting on the arrival of twins has now blossomed into a thriving business.
Initially, Susan operated from her home, perfecting her stationery craft and creating designs for various occasions, with weddings becoming the major focus. As the business grew, Susan realized the need for office space and set up shop in downtown Concord.
- During this time, Susan conceived the idea of the “Sweet Pack,” a curated gift basket featuring items from local vendors. This concept laid the foundation for Sweetest Beginnings’ future endeavors.
In 2015, Sweetest Beginnings took a significant step forward by purchasing a house on Union Street in Concord, which they transformed into their first storefront. Susan’s ingenuity led to the conversion of the garage into a unique gift shop, where customers could build their personalized “Sweet Packs.”
In 2020, The pandemic forced businesses to adapt, and Sweetest Beginnings found solace in its website. With a U-shaped driveway, they were able to offer convenient pickup for online orders. Additionally, Susan orchestrated virtual Sweetest Beginnings-themed parties on social media, creating an engaging and interactive experience for customers.
In 2021, Susan saw an opportunity to expand Sweetest Beginnings’ reach and attract more foot traffic by relocating to downtown Kannapolis. They sold the Union Street shop and moved into a 250 sq ft. shop in the West Ave District in June 2021, which they referred to as their “tiny shop.”
In July 2022 Susan learned about a retail space opening up in Landis. She went and looked at it, and as soon as she saw it, she knew it was perfect for her second location. The Landis location officially opened in October 2022, all the while still knowing they would like a bigger space in Kannapolis.
Susan was splitting her time between the new Landis store and her “tiny shop” in Kannapolis, and it became challenging. She missed being with all her customers and all her staff in one place.
- In May 2023, after a lot of prayer, they made the hard decision to sell the Landis location, trusting that a larger space in Kannapolis would become available. Susan said, “I knew God was telling me to step back, rest and trust him.”
When one door CLOSES, another door OPENS. We are sad to leave but don’t worry, we will still be down the street in Kannapolis. We hope to eventually see our bigger space in Kannapolis, but with home life, two shops just weren’t working for our family. And I must follow my own rules for ‘family first’. My push from Him began. And now we rest. Wait. Focus on home. And love on our #tinyshop. ~ Facebook Post May 2, 2023.
But they didn’t have to wait long… God answered their prayers, and a larger space in Kannapolis became available! Now, Sweetest Beginnings is poised for an exciting new chapter with a Grand Opening in their NEW location at 135 West Avenue taking place this Saturday, August 5th.
You will still find all the wonderful items that the store is known for, but Susan is excited to bring back home goods to the store and has created a welcoming “social area” for kids while their parents shop. She also envisions a future nursing room for moms and a revival of the popular Maker’s Space, offering creative classes for wood signs, wreaths, and kids’ crafts.
What started as a small project has evolved into a thriving business, thanks to Susan’s dedication and her ability to adapt creatively. Her unshakeable faith has played a crucial role in her company’s continued growth and success.
- The business has evolved over the years, but the essence of creating meaningful connections through thoughtful gifts remains the driving force behind Sweetest Beginnings.
It’s more than just a gift shop; it’s a heartwarming story of creativity, faith, and perseverance. Susan McRae’s dream keeps growing, making the world a little sweeter, one gift at a time.
You can also explore Sweetest Beginnings’ extensive selection online at shopsweetestbeginnings.com.
Planning to visit? Tell ’em Cabarrus Weekly sent ya!