Who’s the Boss: 10 Mother/Daughter Businesses in Charlotte

This article is sponsored by Charlotte Radiology Breast Services.

May is in full bloom here in the Queen City. From vibrant flowers to warmer weather, May signifies an awakening of nature and for us to get out of our winter hibernation. May is also a month to appreciate the women that mean the most to us, our moms. 

A mother or a mother figure can come into our lives in different ways and at different times. The thing that is the same across the board is that these women are our advocates, cheerleaders, friends, counselors, guides in life, and our inspiration.  And sometimes, she’s even your business partner.

To honor our mothers, and the special dynamic they have with their children, especially with their daughters, we are highlighting some of the mother/daughter businesses in Charlotte. 

We know there are many more mother/daughter businesses here in Charlotte, and we want to hear about them! Please add your favorite family duo in the COMMENTS section below, so all can see and support.

Fabi Preslar and Sofi Preslar, SPARK Publications

In 1998, after putting herself through college and beginning her career in the graphc design industry, Fabi Preslar launched what is now known as SPARK Publications, a custom publishing company. Fabi is founder and president and was eventually joined by her daughter, Sofi, who serves as production assistant and focuses on keeping the company’s magazine, catalog, and marketing projects organized and on time. With Fabi’s creative and strategic thinking, coupled with Sofi’s drive and organization, there is nothing these two can’t do. 

Susan Young and Whitney Ferguson, blis gift boutique

In 2004, mother-daughter duo Susan Young and Whitney Ferguson opened their gift boutique, blis, in Founders Hall in Uptown. With lots of foot traffic, a selection of gifts for all occasions, and complimentary gift-wrapping, blis became popular with lunchtime crowds and busy professionals seeking last minute gifts. Their offerings have expanded, including their Curated by blis gift box options, but the charm of the store and the welcoming nature of both Susan and Whitney remain the same.   

Kathleen Hemmerle and Elizabeth Hemmerle, Dragonfly Apothecary

It was a series of events that inspired Kathleen and Elizabeth Hemmerle to go into business together. Kathleen had owned a furniture franchise business that unfortunately closed in 2010 and until 2018 hadn’t found anything that inspired her professionally. Elizabeth was in the skincare industry, but became jaded by the often times misleading information about what ‘natural’ skincare products should be. Kathleen and Elizabeth decided to not only work together, but to create products that were good for the skin and the environment. 

Bridget Wornick and Courtney Glenn, J. Majors Bridal

Although J. Majors Bridal has been a Charlotte institution for over 20 years, it has only been since 2018 that Bridget Wornick and Courtney Glenn purchased this bridal boutique. Although it may be under new ownership, Bridget and Courtney still focus on exceptional service, while bringing something new and fresh to the table. 

Liz Hilliard and Clary Hilliard Gray, Hilliard Studio Method

In 2007, Clary Hilliard (now Gray) wanted to get into shape for her upcoming nuptials. She turned to her mother, Liz Hilliard, to help her achieve her goals. Little did they know that 12 years later the fitness concept Liz created would become a brick and mortar location, a sister business of HSM Core, and a video/streaming service for on demand workouts.  

Karen White and Ellery Wilkins, White Advertising 

Karen White is the owner and founder of White Advertising, which opened for business in1990. She is known for thinking outside of the box when it comes to creating campaigns for clients. Ellery is the president of White Advertising and is a master when it comes to working with clients and employees. Together, they make quite the team. 

Cathy Coulter and Ashley Bivens, Boyd, 300 East

Over 30 years ago, Cathy Coulter bought a house along East Boulevard in Dilworth and converted it into a restaurant. Charlotteans fell in love with the beautiful interiors and the delicious food. Years later, her daughter, Ashley Bivens Boyd, served as the pastry chef. Ashley’s creations further cemented 300 East as being bigger than Charlotte as TV shows, celebrities, and even the James Beard House came calling. In 2019, Ashley stepped down from her role as pasty chef and into a new one where she will be handling the operational side of the restaurant. 

Susan Pfahl and Carly Pfahl James, Pfahl Architects

Co-founder and principal Susan Pfahl launched Pfahl Architects in 1996. Pfahl Architects focuses on  commercial and residential work, as well as architectural design and construction services. Her daughter, Carly Pfahl James, joined the firm in 2017. 

Wanda Nelson, Nadja Frazier Hendrix, Nikki Frazier Bradley, Southern Sweets Kitchen

Truly a family affair, Wanda Nelson and her two daughters, Nadja Frazier Hendrix and Nikki Frazier Bradley, own and operate Southern Sweets Kitchen. They specialize in creating desserts with a Southern touch. If you haven’t tried their peanut brittle, it is a must. 

Shonali Pugh Thomas and Shaiyla Thomas, SplenDishes Kitchen 

Chef and caterer Shonali Pugh Thomas created SplenDishes Kitchen as a way to do two of her great passions: cooking and teaching. The apple doesn’t fall far from the tree as her seven-year old daughter, Shaiyla, is also a budding chef. Shaiyla assists with the Little Chefs program Shonali teaches.  

Additional businesses

While we were trying to keep our featured list to 10 businesses, here are a few bonus ones we love!

Kristen Warden and Amber Warden, Face Art and More

Barbi Brooks and daughter Meg Brooks, Instagram and Style Bloggers

Denise Lindsay and her daughter Austin Applefield, Moost Bags

Mother Daughter interior designers Hadley Quisenberry and Lisa Britt of West Trade Interiors.

Mother daughter team of Aarthi and Addy own Magpies.

Beth Peterson and Griffin Gullickson are the dynamic team behind Nav.

 Mary Lacey and her daughter Madison Barnes own Mary Madison Jewelry.

Patsy and Shannon Tucker are the owners of All About You Salon & Spa in Dilworth.

Passing of the torch

Although no longer working together, these businesses are being carried on by the second generation. 

Monica Smith has taken over Raven’s Original, after her mother, Raven, retired. 

Theckla Pope has taken over Saturday Brand Communications,after her mother, Theckla Sterrett, retired. 

Can’t forget the boys! 

Although not a focus in this particular article, we can’t forget the bond of mother and son. 

Owner Suzie Fords works with both her son and stepson at NoDa Brewing Company.

Owner Kim Delaney-Surratt’s son works with her at My Green House

This series, brought to you by Charlotte Radiology Breast Centers, highlights the Charlotte Women making our community the vibrant, growing, exciting place they’ve been calling home for 50 years. At Charlotte Radiology, they know women, seeing over 100,000 women a year for their breast health needs. The professionals at Charlotte Radiology believe the key to beating and detecting breast cancer early is annual mammograms starting at age 40.