R & D Designs is Bigger Than You Think

Posted Sep 18th, 2019 in Retail Roundup


After 30 years in the jewelry business, Ronnie and Debbie Stuber decided it was time to downsize and take it easy. While visiting for the Azalea Festival, they fell in love with Downtown Wilmington and moved here shortly after. Debbie had always liked crafts and decided to have a go at machine-embroidery. She picked it up really quickly and enjoyed it. Ronnie and Debbie discovered there was a gap in the market so they rented a unit in the Water Street Center and started a new business which they called, R & D Designs. That was 17 years ago.

Today, they have six commercial machines and, with the addition of two staff, are kept busy with a steady stream of orders. R & D Designs has a range of products that can be customized with whatever wording or letters you choose. Beyond embroidery, the Stubers also have a heat press for t-shirts.

At R & D Designs, you can buy gifts, pet products, baby accessories, bags, totes, hats, shirts, drinkware and more. Anything you buy in-store can be customized for free and the turnaround is quick—generally only 2-3 days! You can even bring in your own products and pay to have them customized. The only limit is your imagination…and the size of the project. The machines limit the width to 12-inches.

You will always receive great customer service at R & D too. As long-time staff member, Sarah French, says, “We under promise and over deliver.” The Stubers and their staff provide personal service to all their customers and are very grateful for the loyalty they have experienced in the downtown community especially during the long-term construction projects that limited access to Water Street. With community support, the business has stayed strong.

R & D Designs is open six days a week and orders can be placed 24/7 online at the Etsy store where R & D ranked #78 out of 1.8 million vendors in 2017! The most popular items are hats and shirts. Bags, cups and sweatshirts are popular in the holiday season. The Stubers fulfil orders and stock a range of products at their Water Street store; however, they have bulk inventory available in a nearby storage unit so they can easily take care of corporate sales and large orders.

Although the Stubers plan to retire fully in the next couple of years, this downtown store will continue with Sarah at the helm. Be sure to visit R & D Designs for unique customized designs.

Hours: Mon-Sat, 9:30 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.
Expect extended hours during festivals like the upcoming RiverFest.

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R & D Designs
106 N Water St
Wilmington, NC 28401

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