A trip to Calabash, N.C. for seafood isn’t complete without stopping at Callahan’s of Calabash and St. Nick Nacks extraordinary Christmas wonderland.
For more than 43 years, the iconic gift shop has expanded to keep pace with the growing popularity of a town it calls home.
Today, the little gift shop that Clark Callahan started along with his nephew Dean Spatholt in 1978 has become a 35,000-square-foot shopping experience unparalleled along the North Carolina and South Carolina coast.
Karen Wilson, one of the store’s managers and buyers, said shopping at Callahan’s has become a generational tradition for many customers.
“We see people coming in with their children and grandchildren who have been shopping here for years,” she said. “When they enter the store and see the original plank flooring, they know they are home.”
Sadly, the store’s original founder, Clark Callahan, recently passed away. His son, Eric Callahan, now operates the store with his cousin, Dean Spatholt.
“The location, the timing and Dad’s vision had a lot to do with the success we have enjoyed, as well as the great staff we work with,” said Eric, who has worked at Callahan’s since being a young boy. “I did everything from watering the hermit crabs to emptying the trash cans. Whatever Dad needed me to do.”
Located at the entrance to the Calabash waterfront, Callahan’s has a long history of expanding to meet its customers’ needs.
“Clark, Eric and Dean always have had forward thinking business minds,” said Wilson. “They figured out new directions they wanted to take and just kept adding on space. Watching this thing grow over the past 35 years has been super fun and challenging. I’m grateful to be a part of it.”
Eric said the store constantly reimagines itself by adding new lines.
“We always change the merchandise so that it doesn’t get stale for visitors and locals,” he said.
Keeping “trendy” means adding incredibly popular items like Bogg Bags, added Wilson.
The small gift shop bought in 1978 has grown to include seven major departments.
The Lifestyle Co. offers jewelry, handbags and collectibles from major lines like Spartina 449, Vera Bradley, Barefoot Dreams and Swarovski.
At Pea Landing, shoppers can browse whimsical accessories and collector’s items for the home. This area of the store offers BrüMate, YETI, Willow Tree, Yankee Candle and everything in between like wind chimes, garden gnomes, whimsical wine stoppers and pet accessories.
Before Pea Landing, you will also find an incredible variety of T-shirts and beachwear, with brands such as Quiksilver, Life is Good and Fish Hippie.
The nearby fudge shop features homemade sweets as well as old-fashioned soda pop, MoonPies and more. There’s also a large selection of cookbooks, Gullah Gourmet mixes and homemade preserves.
More than 17 tons of fudge is made and shipped every year! Buy a pound of any flavor and you’ll get a half pound of chocolate or vanilla fudge free.
Callahan’s had the distinction of being one of only a few Hallmark Gold Crown franchise located inside of an existing store. You’ll find a wide selection of stationary from Hallmark, Avanti and Lilly Pulitzer.
If your heart belongs to the ocean and you want your home to belong too, peruse Callahan’s enormous selection of coastal and nautical gifts.
With globes fit for Columbus, and schooners in every variety, Callahan’s of Calabash will ship you home with the perfect nautical addition to your space beyond the water. Choose from museum quality model ships, coastal decor, ship wheels, telescopes, and more. Dress up your home or discover a hard-to-find accent piece for your boat.
If you can’t get to Callahan’s, the store’s merchandise can now also be purchased online at callahansgifts.com.