Where Life Leads You

by | May 20, 2024 | Partners, Surf City

Diana Tippett did not set out to sell furniture, but after 16 years of owning Beach Furniture Outfitters, she can’t imagine doing anything else.

In college, Diana Tippett majored in horticulture and figured that was where her career would be. And it was for a while. She worked in greenhouses and garden centers in her hometown of Fayetteville, where her dad was in the Army at Fort Bragg, now Fort Liberty. Like everybody else, she enjoyed vacationing at the beach, especially Topsail Beach. And that’s when her plans of staying in Fayetteville changed.

“I met my husband, Larry, at Topsail. He wouldn’t leave the beach, so I had to move there,” Tippett says.

That was 30 years ago, and she has never looked back.

Diana Tippett Beach Furniture Outlet

When Tippett first moved to Topsail, she learned that a job in horticulture was not an option. There were two types of opportunities: real estate and restaurants. She chose real estate and started working for a local company doing office work. One day she stumbled into Beach Furniture Outfitters in Surf City to buy some furniture for their new house and met Sam Morrow, the original owner of the store.

“I went in to buy some furniture and came out with a job,” Tippett says.

She worked for Morrow at the furniture store for 12 years until he passed away. That is when she and Larry decided to purchase the remaining inventory from his wife and became business owners. That was 16 years ago. Ater working with homeowners on and off the island for such a long time, the furniture store has become a part of her DNA and her clients have become family.

“My favorite part of this job is meeting people and seeing them come down here year after year,” Tippett says. “You get to see their kids grow up, and then come here with their kids. It’s not just about selling furniture; to me it’s building lifetime friendships.”

When Morrow opened Beach Furniture Outfitters, he set himself apart by specializing in whole beach house rentals with a turnkey operation. His store supplied everything from furniture to pots and pans. Though the Tippetts are outfitting year-round homes as well, most of their business still comes from refreshing and updating vacation rental homes.

Beach Furniture Outlet NC

“Spring is when this place booms,” Tippett says. “This time of year, the homeowners are fixing everything up for summer rentals, and that keeps us very busy.”

Tippett says it is their service that sets Beach Furniture Outfitters apart from other furniture stores. Year after year, homeowners and Realtors have come to depend on Tippett for everything they need to get through the vacation season. In fact, she still has paper files that date back 30 years to when the store first opened. So, if a homeowner needs to replace something or match something up, she knows exactly what they bought and how to get a new one if needed.

Delivery, assembly and set up are all part of their service.

“And if something is too big or small, they can bring it back,” Tippett says. “We want it to look good and be something people are proud to have in their homes.

When it comes to furniture, Tippett is a stickler for quality products that are locally made when possible. Much of the furniture she sells is made in Hickory and Thomasville, North Carolina.

“We also buy upholstered furniture from Florida,” she says. “Much of it is American made. But I do carry a new line that people like that is made from reclaimed mango wood from India. It’s absolutely beautiful!”

Tippett Beach Furniture Outlet NC

Tippett says furniture must be durable if it is going to be placed in rental homes. “Our clients don’t want something that’s going to get torn up quickly,” she says. “That’s why we don’t sell anything that’s cheaply made. It’s good quality, at a good price.”

Open year-round, Beach Furniture Outfitters is much more than a furniture store. They sell home accessories, jewelry, sheets, quilts and pillow shams and even mattresses from a family-owned and operated company in Thomasville, North Carolina. You can even find local art, books by local authors, puzzles and wind chimes in the store.

“People don’t realize we aren’t just for furniture,” Tippett says. “We offer one-stop shopping for everybody and every budget.”

Explore What’s in Store:
Beach Furniture Outfitters
13997 N.C. Highway 50, Surf City
m (910) 803-0455
bfo-inc.com

Photography by Matt McGraw

About the author

Melissa Slaven Warren

Melissa Slaven Warren

Melissa Slaven Warren is a freelance writer who lives in Southeastern North Carolina. She earned her BA in English from the University of North Carolina at Wilmington and is currently pursuing her Masters in Liberal Studies from UNCW. She’s been a freelance business writer, feature article author, non-fiction essayist, technical editor, entrepreneur, product and brand manager. Her work has appeared in Our State magazine and she is a regular contributor to local publications. In her spare time Melissa enjoys water sports and coastal living with her husband Bill and 110 lb. rescue dog, aptly named Bear. Visit her website at www.melissaslavenwarren.com.