Women in Business

Lisa Potts: Every day is Christmas

wib christmasFor Lisa Potts, Christmas isn’t just a holiday — it’s a way of life. Potts owns Nancy Tut’s Christmas Shop in Dillsboro, an occupation that means she spends every day surrounded by Christmas paraphernalia of all sorts.

“For 20 years,” she said, “I’ve been in Christmas world.”

Potts didn’t set out to own a Christmas shop. It just kind of happened. While in college, her sister Amanda was working at the shop — a 114-year-old home full of Christmasy items — part-time under its previous owner, Betty Hamilton. When Amanda heard that Hamilton was thinking about selling, she started to bend her sister’s ear. 

“She mentioned to Betty that I was interested, and Betty’s a very good salesperson,” Potts said.

So, Potts entered the Christmas business, with her husband Mike, a Realtor, in support as her “silent partner.” She’s enjoyed each of the 20 years that have passed since, building relationships with customers and seeing their children turn into adults, and those adults turn into parents who come back with their own children. 

As a female business owner, she’s in good company in Dillsboro, with plenty of other successful businesswomen lining the streets of the small town. She said she’s never felt any sense of exclusion or hardship resulting from her gender. 

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“I didn’t feel unique or anything being a woman in Dillsboro, because there were already women here,” she said.  

Instead, she’s been able to focus on what she enjoys about her job — which is to say, almost everything. 

“I enjoy making my own decisions and doing all aspects of the business,” she said. “I do the bookwork, I do the buying, I do all that stuff. On the flip side, that’s almost the most challenging part too. When you own a business and you run it by yourself, you’re committed to being there all the time.”

But Potts wasn’t naïve as to the commitment that business ownership entails. Growing up, her father Kelly Bradley owned Harold’s Supermarket in Sylva, and she witnessed firsthand the dedication that went into his care for the store.  

“I always grew up thinking, ‘I would like to do that myself,’” Potts said. “My dad was definitely a business inspiration for me.” 

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