Small Business Week: At this Eastern Shore boutique, every purchase is a good deed

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Posted at 8:35 AM, May 07, 2021
and last updated 2021-05-09 19:27:44-04

CAPE CHARLES, Va. - At Buoy 56, everything you need to know is in the slogan: "Where every purchase is a good deed."

Co-owners Roxane Ward and Pam Carpenter love helping people.

The sisters-in-law and Eastern Shore natives decided to get into business with each other as a way to meet new people and support a cause close to both their hearts; St. Mary's Home in Norfolk, a home for people with disabilities, including Ward's son, Colton.

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Roxane Ward's son, Colton, and her husband, Gil. Colton lives at St. Mary's Home in Norfolk, a home for children and young adults with disabilities. A portion of all sales at Buoy 56 benefits St. Mary's Home.

"He does things that he would never have the opportunity to experience if he was here," Ward tells News 3.

With that in mind, Ward and Carpenter opened Buoy 56 in 2019; a boutique with women's and men's clothing, jewelry, home decor and more. The name reflecting their shared love for water and the year in which they were born, 1956.

It's charming, just like the town of Cape Charles where it's located.

But the mission is what sets Buoy 56 apart.

"We've been blessed enough with our husbands and our families that we're able to give back and that means a lot to us," said Ward.

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Pam Carpenter and Roxane Ward are sisters-in-law and both grew up on the Eastern Shore. Together, they opened Buoy 56 in 2019.

Not only does a portion of all profits (and 100 percent of customer donations) go to St. Mary's Home, almost all lines it carries support a different cause, whether it be environmental, fighting human trafficking or helping women start businesses. A major line at the story, Buddy By The Sea, helps train and certify service dogs to give to people in need.

The hope is to keep growing the business and make a real difference for the causes it supports, the ladies tell News 3.

Last year, they moved across the street into a larger space and added men's clothing, which in turn, brought even more customers in.

"We just treat everybody the same. We love talking and chatting with them and finding out where they come from and we just love them to come back," said Carpenter.

And when they come back, they're supporting Cape Charles, the town where Ward grew up. Carpenter was raised just down the road in Exmore.

"I just want everybody (in Cape Charles) to prosper because they all offer something unique and different," said Ward.

Buoy 56 is located on Mason Ave. It's open seven days a week.