Denise Bass is very pleased with the location for her second dress shop, Carley's Formals, which opened recently in Cobblestone Place.
Her initial business venture in Smithfield, Carley's So Sweet Pageant Boutique, was started five years ago. Her decision to expand in Goldsboro was purposeful, she says.
"I've got business back this way from Greenville to Jacksonville and Duplin County," she said. "It just makes it a little closer for my customers and also see the need to have items that fit any budget, from $200 to $1,500 and up."
Carley's Formals features an extensive line of bridal, prom and pageant wear. What makes it different from the Smithfield location is the bridal options, with many top designers.
"We carry different designers. We have over 400 dresses plus," Bass said. "We carry different things in each store, a huge variety and many different designers."
In addition to wedding dresses, she has a selection for bridesmaids, mother of the bride and flower girls.
There are also prom dresses, pageant wear, as well as homecoming dresses, pageant dresses for little girls, cotillion dresses, shoes, jewelry and other accessories.
"We have items for children from 12 months through adults, size 32," she said of the pageant dresses. "And we have bridal in stock for up to size 28."
The showroom has a wide selection of options, with a separate room for wedding gowns. There are three fitting rooms and a mirror-lined wall in the sitting area.
Bass said she tries to create a welcoming atmosphere for the customer and do everything she can to ensure the best possible experience.
"When people come in and they purchase a dress, we ask them, 'Is this your dress? Are you saying 'yes' to the dress?'" she said. "We make a big deal. It's all about the customer.
"We take their picture. We have a wall of fame to display them."
The business also does something else that is uniquely personal, she said.
"We register our dresses," she said. "Like for proms and pageants, so when the event comes around, the dress the customer purchases is logged out so they know it's already been purchased by someone else and they won't duplicate it."
Bass enjoys bringing the special occasion wear to this community, particularly since it had previously been a popular location when Beverly Hills East occupied a spot there.
But the biggest reason that motivates her is the one for whom the new business is named -- her 10-year-old daughter, Carley.
"She started doing pageants at age 2," Bass said. "She started it, I didn't. She was too little to be in dance because they start at 3. She asked when I was going to introduce her on stage.
"Her first pageant was the 'Ham and Yam Pageant. She didn't win, she was a runner-up, but she went on to win other pageants."
The store is open 9 a.m. until 5 p.m. Monday through Saturday, with private appointments also available.
The businesses also have Facebook and Instagram pages, as well as a website, carleyssosweetpageantboutique.com. The phone number for Carley's Formals is 919-351-0531.3