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  • Jefferson Weaver

New Business Puts Fresh Look on Old Building

Tim and Stephanie Hilbourn put a lot of sweat into their new photography studio in downtown Whiteville.

At a ribbon cutting at Tim Hilbourn Photography last Saturday, visitors continually commented on the restoration job by the Hilbourns. The couple did the vast majority of the work themselves, while working fulltime jobs and running their growing photography business.

“I walk past here quite a bit,” said Mayor Terry Mann, “and I had begun to wonder if we were going to have another rundown eyesore downtown. You have worked some miracles here.”

The former jewelry store had been closed for several years, and was in an advanced state of decay. The Hilbourns said they wanted to be part of downtown, and they saw the potential in the classic structure.

“It was a lot of work, but it was worth it,” Hilbourn said. “I couldn’t have done it without Stephanie.”

The Hilbourns began work on the building last year. The cement floor had to be cleaned and smoothed, and other significant work was required before the former store could be turned into a modern photography studio.

In addition to an office, lobby and sales area, the Hilbourns created a large open space with various backdrops for wedding, children and portrait settings. They’ve been in the photography business since 2011.

Former chamber president Todd Collins thanked the Hilbourns for choosing to invest in downtown, as well as the community.

“This was always a nice section,” he said, “and you have done an amazing job adding quality to downtown.”

“Nobody likes to see an empty storefront,” said Tom Stanley of the Whiteville Downtown Development Commission. “When we can get a new business and attractive building at the same time, it’s a good day for everyone.”

For more information about the business, log on to, or call 914-6107.

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