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Handbag designer Holly Aiken is returning to Raleigh by joining a downtown boutique

Popular handbag designer Holly Aiken will return to Raleigh with space in the Deco boutique on Salisbury Street.
Popular handbag designer Holly Aiken will return to Raleigh with space in the Deco boutique on Salisbury Street. sbolejack@newsobserver.com

OK, this one you can call a comeback.

Hearts were broken earlier this year when popular designer Holly Aiken closed her downtown Raleigh shop Stitch, and moved all operations to Wilmington.

Well, Aiken is back. Starting Labor Day, Aiken’s beloved handbags will return to Raleigh through a new partnership with the Salisbury Street boutique Deco. Aiken, who lives in Wilmington with her family, said cutting out the capital-to-coast commute largely drove the closing of Stitch, but that she always planned some return to Raleigh.

“Though my business is based in Wilmington now, it was born in Raleigh,” Aiken said in a release. “Leaving the city altogether was never my plan, and the partnership with Pam and Deco allows us to stay connected with our Raleigh customers.”

Aiken is an N.C. State School of Design alum and opened Stitch 15 years ago on the corner of Wilmington and Hargett Streets in downtown Raleigh, making it one of the city’s longest- running retail shops.

Deco owner Pam Blondin credits Aiken as a useful adviser when first opening the the boutique on Hargett Street in 2012. Last year, Deco moved around the corner to a new space on Salisbury Street, doubling the size of the shop.

“Deco celebrates local designers and makers,” says Blondin. “No local designer has had a bigger impact on Raleigh than Holly Aiken. She was a retail pioneer downtown, and it’s safe to say that Deco wouldn’t be here if Holly hadn’t recognized an opportunity, and taken the risk, all those years ago.”

Aiken’s designs will now have about the same footprint in Deco as previously with the Stitch shop, including hundreds of different design combinations.

Aiken’s grand return to Raleigh will kick off Sept. 2 at 11 a.m. at Deco, at 207 South Salisbury Street.

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Drew Jackson writes about restaurants and dining for The News & Observer and The Herald-Sun, covering the food scene in the Triangle and North Carolina.
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