ADAM FOREMAN/Lake Gaston Gazette-Observer

Holding scissors, Tracey Thomas, left, and Bobbie Barnette cut the ribbon at Soaps and Sawdust on Nov. 20. Their store features locally made wooden signs, home decor, soaps, bath and beauty products. The ribbon cutting was sponsored by the Lake Gaston Regional Chamber of Commerce. Also pictured are representatives from the Chamber and the Warren County Economic Development Commission.


Tracey Thomas and her sister Bobbi Barnette bring a kaleidoscope of beauty products and home decor to Warren County at their new store, Soaps and Sawdust, at 872 Hwy. 903, Littleton, N.C. Their store features handmade wooden flags, wooden signs, handmade soaps, bath and beauty products, and aluminum can earrings that were previously featured on the Tarheel Traveler. They are also gearing up to start screen printing shirts and hoodies, and creating vinyl decals. 

The sisters chose the location, at the corner of Hwy. 903 and Enterprise Road, because of the heavy car traffic at that intersection, and because they fell in love with the space.

The store has open product displays and a semi-exposed work studio where the sisters screen print and make soap and other beauty products. The wooden products are currently made in Barnette’s woodshop at her home. 

Thomas has been making soaps and other beauty products for about five years, selling them at the Warren County Farmers Market and other craft events. Barnette brings the woodworking talent to the business. She has been working at making signs, noodle boards, wall art, and other items for almost a year. The sisters are teaching each other how to work in their respective fields, and come from a family of craftspeople. Their father works in construction, and their grandfather was a cabinet and furniture maker.

Unlike other heavily scented stores that peddle beauty potions, walking into Soaps and Sawdust doesn’t assault customers with the same in your face, abrasive wall of sinus aggravating odors. The store is more kind to the senses.

The sisters also stock Soap and Sawdust with beard oil and a few other masculine products. 

According to Aaron Ayscue of The Wandering Dawg: “I bought a shampoo bar at the flea market, and it lasted for almost three months. I normally don’t spend that much on something like that, but it’s worth it.” 

Ayscue was selling hot dogs at the store location on the day of its ribbon cutting and grand opening. 

Stacy Woodhouse, Warren County Economic Development director, is pleased with the new store.

“We need more unique small businesses like this,” he said. “I’ll take a hundred small businesses like this, because if we have a recession and our largest businesses leave, we have a problem. But with 100 small businesses like this that feature unique products, people will travel to them, and they can ship their products all over the world.”

Thomas said that the store would be open seven days a week, and they are still working out their hours. They are also working on a website. They have a few products displayed on their Facebook page. 

For more information, contact them on their Facebook page or by calling 252-739-0347 or 252-820-5570.