For Betty Rollinson and Deborah Robertson, the name Friends Two is perfect for the gift and craft store they operate on Warrenton’s Main Street. Not only are they longtime friends, but they also share a lot of craft work, especially projects that they can work on together.
The store, located in the former Hunter Drug Company building, opened in 2010 about a month after the retirement of longtime Hunter pharmacist Alpheus “Doc” Jones, Jr.
Rollinson and Robertson both worked at Hunter Drug Company. Today, they worked together at the Main Street building for 31 years, taking into account their time as the Hunter Drug Company and Friends Two.
Friends credit Doc Jones with the idea of opening a gift shop. They also give it the name of the company. Rollinson and Robertson were trying to narrow down a list of potential names when Doc suggested “Friends Two”. The name “Two Friends” was on Robertson’s list.
Since 2010, Friends Two has built a reputation for bringing the place to go when you want an orangeade, want to start a knitting or crochet project, need a greeting card, or need a gift. special.
Customers love to stop by to see what Rollinson and Robertson have been up to as well. They sell a variety of their handcrafted or hand painted crafts at Friends Two. Popular items include baby aprons and blankets. If what a customer wants is out of stock, Rollinson and Robertson try to find the color and fabric they want.
The two friends often take orders for memory quilts, made from a loved one’s clothes, and T-shirt quilts.
Everyday objects such as jugs, bottles and saws become unique canvases for paintings.
Even items that others are willing to throw away can turn into decorative items in the hands of Robertson and Rollinson. Recently someone gave them a collection of Christmas ornaments (balls) and someone else gave them a large wreath of artificial greenery. The two friends glued 140 balls of different sizes, along with other decorative items, to the wreath, transforming it into a colorful and sparkling piece of art, perfect for a door or a wall.
People who love to knit or crochet also love Friends Two, regardless of their skill level. The store offers yarns, knitting needles, crochet hooks and more. Customers are welcome to bring their work to the store, sit at a table, and spend time with other artisans. Often times Rollinson and Robertson join us. They are ready to help when needed.
Friends Two also carries flags, jewelry, wind chimes, soaps, knives, greeting cards, and other gift items.
The original Hunter Drug Company soda fountain is still located near the front door. Customers can still get vanilla cokes, orangeades, lemonades, ice cream and milkshakes. Rollinson and Robertson use the same milkshake machine and juicer that they have used for years and are likely stock from the store.
Orangeades are the most popular treat, but there is one customer who stops by for a butter and pecan ice cream while on vacation in the Lake Gaston area.
Friends Two had to adapt to the worst of the COVID-19 pandemic, closing for about a month before reopening with fewer hours of operation. Throughout the pandemic, even when the store was closed, Rollinson and Robertson sewed masks, making more than 3,000.
In an era where more and more people are shopping online, Friends Two specializes in offering items that can be hard to find online in a setting where customers feel like they are friends.
“Business has slowed down due to the internet and online ordering, but we still have loyal customers who come no matter what. It means a lot, ”said Rollinson.
While many customers come from Warren County, people from other parts of North Carolina and other states, including Maryland, Tennessee, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin, stop by when in the region. A customer always comes around Christmas. Another comes to buy soap while on vacation in the region.
When asked what they value most about operating Friends Two, Rollinson and Robertson simultaneously responded, “people.”
“Someone walked in and said, ‘You know everyone, and they know you,'” said Robertson.
“When you make a quilt and you know how much it will mean to them, I like it,” Rollinson said.
New clients and longtime clients love Rollinson and Robertson, two friends who make them feel like family every time they walk through the doors of Friends Two.
Friends Two, located at 126 S. Main St., Warrenton, is open 9 am to 3 pm Monday through Friday. For more information, call 252-257-1604 or visit the store’s Facebook page.