In the summer of 1994, Lion King and Forest Gump dominated at the box office; the All-4-One hit “I Swear” was at the top of the Billboard Charts; and OJ Simpson had us riveted to our television screens. The internet, Amazon and Yahoo were infants.
The internet was mostly used by scientists and scholars. And if you had a home computer you used floppy discs and it required your telephone to literally dial up a connection. Facebook, Instagram and Twitter had never been heard of, and you bought your music on CDs.
In the summer of 1994, there were no breweries on Main Street in Brevard. More storefronts were closed than were open. While a number of downtown storefronts sat empty, some new life was beginning to take shape in little spots all over downtown. A new coffee shop, a new bakery and a few restaurants dotted the landscape; and the White Squirrel Shop had relocated to the center of town, across the street from O.P. Taylor’s.
In the summer 1994, Dee Dee and Jimmy Perkins and their partners opened D.D. Bullwinkel’s, a new retail business in downtown.
With a newly formed ‘Heart of Brevard’ organization, a North Carolina Main Street Program, in place, “it just seemed like it was the right time and the right thing for us to do,” says Dee Dee Perkins.
With knowledge that the old Varner’s Drug Store on Broad Street would soon be vacant, the Perkins’ and the Bullwinkel’s started exploring a variety of possibilities. What rose to the surface was a retail store with a focus on North Carolina and mountain flavored merchandise.
Twenty-five years later, D.D. Bullwinkel’s and Rocky’s Grill and Soda Shop have evolved into two distinct destinations, and into two downtown Brevard anchor stores.
Originally flanking Broad Street and Jordan Street, D.D. Bullwinkel’s and its companion store MooseTracks Footwear moved into a much larger 10,000 square foot location on Main Street, in June 2017. That move allowed the Perkins’ to fulfill another dream of expanding into a full-service outdoor outfitter, offering a unique mix of products.
D.D. Bullwinkel’s Outdoors and MooseTracks Footwear are literally packed with affordable clothing, comfort footwear, gear, accessories and unique gifts and goodies of every description.
“We have filled our space with all of the major outdoor brands our customers have come to love,” said Dee Dee Perkins. “We are committed to providing the best the outdoor industry has to offer. We have more selection and we’re introducing lots of new products for camping, hiking, backpacking, climbing and travel. Our aim is to be a full-service outdoor outfitter.”
“There’s also the bonus of The Map Room, our taproom,” added Adam Perkins, a manager and gear buyer. “It’s a place where customers can sip beer or a favorite beverage, talk about what is happening around town and plan their next hike or outdoor adventure. It’s a wonderful community space that overlooks the streets. And where we offer yoga classes.”
The Perkins’ adult children, Adam and Allie who assist in running the family businesses, get a little nostalgic when they look back at the life and evolution of D.D. Bullwinkel’s.
“I remember coming to the store many days after school, sitting at the lunch counter doing homework, scooping ice cream and making milkshakes. As a kid, I’d tool through the nooks and crannies filled with t-shirts, flip flops and hammocks. And now I’m on the search for new merchandise for the stores, looking at it with new eyes and perspectives,” commented Allie Perkins, the stores Merchandise Manager.
As Brevard has grown and changed over the years, this local business has grown and changed along with it. “Our community involvement on boards and as volunteers has given us a front row seat to how this community sees itself and how it wants to grow and transform. And we want our growth to be a reflection of what this community desires.”
“As happens with retail, over the years we have transformed from a gift and crafts shop to an outdoor store which reflects the needs and branding of our local community,” said Dee Dee Perkins. “We strive to keep up with the changing times in Brevard and this region. We often identify what is the missing ingredient in the retail mix and see if adding it will fit with our offering. Our customers tell us what they want,” she added.
“Our endurance and longevity come from the support and loyalty of a very giving community. For that we are very grateful and appreciative.” said Jimmy Perkins. “People walk into our door as customers and walk out as our friends. We look forward to all the new faces and new friends we expect to meet in the coming years.”
“And we have had the good fortune to have exceptional staff, that make a huge contribution,” said Dee Dee.
D.D. Bullwinkel’s will be hosting their 25th Anniversary Bash and Sale on Saturday, June 22. The sale will be held all day at D.D. Bullwinkel’s and MooseTracks location with a 25% discount throughout the store on most merchandise.
Oskar Blues Brewery will host D.D. Bullwinkel’s 25th Anniversary Celebration events at Oskar Blues Brewery, 342 Mountain Industrial Dr., on Saturday, June 22. Starting with a FunRun at 9:00 am and bike ride event beginning at noon, other festivities include live music, food trucks, special “Moose Joose” brew, gear demos, giveaways, gear raffles to benefit Conserving Carolina, and more. Visit our website and Facebook page for details and schedule.
Visit ddbullwinkels.com for additional information.