Artists on the Forefront

Going Local NC showcases local arts and crafts

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There are not too many stores around anymore that can say that all their products are made right here in North Carolina. Going Local NC, located in Mayfaire, was started by MICHELLE CONELY as a way to support local artists while still enjoying what she loves: local art.

“Local artisans are important to me and so the concept for the store was to support local craftsmen. We want to support our local artists and give them a place to sell their work,” says Conely, a 1993 UNCW communication studies graduate.

Going Local NC has been in business for the past 5 years and was originally located downtown Wilmington but has been at Mayfaire now for the past year and a half.

Proud to call Wilmington home, Conely says that until the COVID-19 outbreak earlier this year, different types of art classes were being offered at the store. She hopes to return to more consistent art and crafts classes when the pandemic is over.

Originally from Raleigh and wanting to be a fashion designer when she was young, Conely says she has a broad spectrum of love of arts and crafts but can’t name just one favorite. She instead loves them all and loves what comes from the local scene.

Items from watercolor paintings to fused glass art to handmade soaps and hand-crafted jewelry are just a few of the art at Going Local NC. The store also sales locally produced honey. Conely says one of the hottest items in the store are the hand-painted Christmas ornaments.

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“The tourists all seem to purchase a Christmas ornament to take home with them. It’s a great memory item. They can look back on their vacation with fond memories of Wilmington,” she says.

Speaking of Christmas, Conely is currently hard at work preparing for her third Annual Holiday Artisan Market. Due to COVID-19, this year will be a year like no other and she says that certain measures will be taken to protect staff and customers alike.

“It will be different this year. We are certainly all more aware of social distancing and mask-wearing. We will get thru it,” she says.

She says last year’s holiday market was a tremendous success with over 120 artists’ work for sale at Going Local NC.  The store also had a dedicated children’s “shopping area” that, she hopes to have something similar this holiday as well. She will likely hold events around Small Business Saturday.


Conely enjoys talking with new artists about housing their work and she is always accepting new applications for an individual’s locally created product.

And the fun part for Conely, she says, is the blend of all the many different types of products in her store.

“When you put all this together and know that it is by local artists, you see what kind of talent we have right here on a local level,” Says Conely. “It’s a proud feeling to see what is made right here by our own talent.”

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To view more of photographer Terah Wilson’s work, go to

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Categories: Culture