By Joe Crews
For Hometown News
Two years ago, Sherry Dryden of Port Orange was a single mom in search of a job. Not having any luck in finding work, Ms. Dryden decided to make her own work.
Through a company she named Handbag Inc., she started selling those items over the Internet -- well, not just handbags, but also backpacks, luggage pieces, clothing and accessories.
"I love purses, so I started selling them on eBay, and then Amazon called me to sell on that Web site," said Ms. Dryden, the company's president and owner. "Ever since, the business has been growing really well."
So well that, on Nov. 16, Handbag Inc. opened a store at 305 E. International Speedway Blvd. in DeLand, next door to Chase Bank in a strip mall adjacent to a Lowe's Home Improvement store.
"A physical location was the next step to get the business out of my home," she said. "We outgrew the house."
Although she lives in Port Orange, Ms. Dryden grew up in DeLand, so that's where she decided to open the store.
"I like the hometown feel of DeLand," she said. "My niece lives here, too, so it was easier to open here."
Her niece, Jessica Prosock, is one of two employees in the store. The other is Cheyenne Battista, the girlfriend of Ms. Dryden's son.
"It's all in the family," she said.
Ms. Dryden doesn't make or personalize any of the merchandise sold in the store; all of it is imported, and none of it is name-brand.
"Call it designer-inspired handbags," she said.
There is a wide variety of styles and types of handbags and purses as well as merchandise, such as lingerie, belts and a few dresses. Especially popular, she said, is her assortment of camouflage-print purses and handbags.
With the store opening a week before Black Friday, Handbag Inc. has been busy this holiday shopping season, Ms. Dryden said.
"We've had a busy season with online sales," she said. "We've had a lot of walk-in traffic, too."
Anything ordered from the company's Web site, www.handbaginc.com, can be shipped to the customer within a week, Ms. Dryden said. Or a customer can order something online and pick it up in the store.
For holiday shoppers, Handbag Inc. is offering a $5 discount on the first purchase, and a 10 percent discount on the entire purchase, Ms. Dryden said.
The store is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday, and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. The store's phone number is (386) 873-2907.