Bring your pocketbook to The Bag NC

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Rachel Burgess has opened The Bag NC in the 100 block of North Poindexter Street, Elizabeth City.

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By William F. West
Staff Writer

Sunday, October 14, 2018

Rachel Burgess loves purses, so much so she’s now in the business of offering a variety of them for sale at her new store in downtown Elizabeth City.

Burgess early this month opened The Bag NC in the 100 block of North Poindexter Street.

Why purses?

“It’s probably a bad thing because I have so much junk that I tote around,” said the former Marine. “My purse is, like, a little tiny suitcase I can take with me.”

In addition to offering purses for sale, she also offers handbags and custom T-shirts for sale.

Early last week she was preparing an order of T-shirts and explained, “I like to see stuff I made; other people wearing stuff I made.”

Burgess, 38, is from Edenton, to which she recently returned and where she also operates a housecleaning business.

After graduating from John A. Holmes High School in 1998, she joined the Marine Corps and served a four-year tour of duty.

“They were looking for a few good men and I was looking for a few good men,” she said with a laugh. “They’re still looking and I’m still looking, too.”

She said she served most of her tour in Japan in aviation ordinance, with her job having to build airplane bombs.

“It sounds a whole lot more exciting than it really is because when you get out, there's no call for that in the civilian world,” she said.

Burgess completed her service as a private first class. She said serving in the Marines did have an impact on her life and shaped her in many ways as a person.

“I got to see more of the world. I got to learn that a small town wasn’t, like, your only corner,” she said.

She also said she learned to be more tolerant of others.

She said a friend of hers and a former Marine was working at a sheriff’s office in eastern Texas. She said the friend suggested if she didn’t want to return to Chowan County to instead come to the Lone Star State.

Burgess said she ended up in Rusk, a community about 130 miles southeast of Dallas. She said she worked there for about 12 years, most of them as a jailer. She said while in Rusk, she started in the housecleaning business.

Now she’s happy to be in downtown Elizabeth City.

At the same time, being from Edenton, which has a busy central business district, she wonders why the scene isn’t the same in the heart of the Harbor of Hospitality. She suspects the pull of the Elizabeth City Walmart Supercenter on the far west side of the city is a major reason.

Still, Burgess is upbeat and believes the central part of the Pasquotank County seat is slowly but surely making a comeback, with the Arts of the Albemarle's presence being a key factor.

“And then there’s new business springing up all around,” she said.

Burgess is a mother of three children, ages 16, 14 and 9, respectively. She said one of them is a cheerleader and another one is in ROTC.

And she said, “I want to have a nice successful business that I can pass down to my kids.”

The Bag NC is located at 108 North Poindexter and is open from 9 a.m.-5:30 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays. The business can be reached by phone at 252-484-8060 and has a page on Facebook.