With a name like the Happy Shack, it should come as no surprise that this Ashe County shop offers a cheerful welcome: Brightly colored Adirondack chairs line the entrance, and silk Tibetan prayer flags flutter in the breeze on the front porch. Inside, you’ll find red-hatted gnomes and coir rugs; a menagerie of colorful egg chairs made from Indian saris; couches covered with North Carolina-spun cotton; and the sweet aroma of jasmine incense from the Nepalese highlands — a special destination for owners Shawn and Sheila Gentry. Oh, and limited quantities of fresh, seasonal seafood.
Yep, seafood. On weekends throughout the summer and fall, Shawn treks down to the family’s vacation home on Harkers Island and returns up the mountain with a fresh catch. Because of Shawn’s love for deep-sea fishing, the couple originally envisioned the shop as a fish market. Eventually, though, they opted to combine their passions for the Carolina coast and for far-off destinations, creating what Sheila calls “a cheerful place for products we loved and couldn’t find anywhere else.”