Goodbye Winks

 In Back In The Day

Some things are a constant.  The sun, even on cloudy days, is always there.  At night, the moon is going to rise.  And in Kitty Hawk, Winks will be providing great food and service to locals and vacationers alike.  Well, that was the assumption….

On the Beach Road in Kitty Hawk, Winks has been an Outer Banks staple since 1953.  One of the very few stores that remained open year-round during the 1960’s and 1970’s.  In 2018, with 65 years in business, Winks became a senior citizen and now it is time to retire.

To say they will be missed is one of the biggest understatements of the year.  Over the last several months’ people have been going to Facebook to post their pictures on the Winks page showing their last visit to the iconic grocery store and to share their memories  Local artist Megan Rubino has even immortalized the store with a painting of the building that can be printed onto both t-shirts and beach bags.  Those are available at Muse Originals OBX in Kitty Hawk.  As recently as this past Saturday (October 20), Winks final t-shirts are also available at the store, while the doors are still open.

If you would like a piece of Winks history, you’re in luck.  There will be a total store liquidation coming up over the Thanksgiving weekend.  This will be your last chance for a forever reminder of the business that has been around for what seems like forever.  Thank you, Winks.  Thank you for your service to the Outer Banks.  We’re going to miss your big yellow winking sign.  Have a great retirement.

Greg Smrdel
Author: Greg Smrdel

Greg Smrdel, while his physical body lives in Ohio (for now), his soul will always remain on the Outer Banks.

Showing 19 comments
  • Brian

    As a kid my grandfather; then my mom and siblings owned the cottage directly across the street from winks.I always looked forward to nags head as a child and still do as a adult.Winks was always the cherry on top for me and my siblings.We always looked forward to the morning when are parents were asleep so we could raid my moms purse of Change run over to winks by some fireworks and donuts.nags head will never feel the same. Rip winks

  • George Gregory

    words cannot explain what Winks meant to us. We travel to OBX from Cleveland for more than 20 years and stay next door at the Saltaire Cottages another Landmark.The people make the difference ! the caring and friendliness of the employees ,and past and present owners is hard to find anywhere especially in this day age. My kids now in there 20’s were always there and welcomed with open arms and wearing just bathing suits or there PJ’s ( heck I have even been there in my PJ.s ! That was just one of the memories my family and I share it did not matter who you were or what you were wearing you always were welcomed and greeted with friendly smiles. Part of my family extends to the PA side where they have been going for over 50 years… Going to OBX will never be the same…at least for now we still have Saltiare next door. Love all of you Winks and we will always cherish the memories and friendships we made over the last 20 plus years.

  • Diane

    It’s a sad day when i Sweet Landmark like Winks is replaced with a “soulless” giant house!

  • Brian

    We still have Wee Winks in Duck!

  • Liz

    Someone would have bought that businss, I know it. Guess the land select will fund retirement but the business was priceless…very sad.

  • Susan Finkel

    I guess that confirms my plans to come down Thanksgiving weekend. Been coming down since the early 70s. That was always my “go to” place no matter where I stayed.



  • Scott Vaughan

    Favorite store on OBX. Great food and very nice people.

  • Patricia Howell

    Would you consider selling the business please? Please email me! Thank you very much!

    • Perrin Wilkinson Gardner

      The land has been sold. The store is to be torn down. 🙁

  • Donna Keeney

    Where will we go for our OBX T-shirt’s now???? It has always been a tradition that my husband always went and got a new T-shirt from Winks. OBX is changing. First it was the water park and now Winks. So sad?

    • Beach Gurl

      You can go to Winks Facebook page; they are still selling Winks tee shirts – check it out:

      Nor is the store being torn down according to local contractors and former owners. Its going to be remodeled after “Stop-n-Shop” on the Beach Road in KDH

  • Julia

    Who did that water color? Or is it a print? Will this be for sale? It’s amazing and I’m sure many would purchase it!

    • Ayleen Ferry

      My wonderful sister-in-law and local artist, Megan Rubino, did the artwork. Check out the Kill Devil Hills CO-Op for more of her artwork.

    • Lisa Barnes

      Meg will be set up the day of the auction with the prints including cards, plus several other artists.

  • Rebecca Courtright

    Oh no! My family has been going down to OBX since I was a baby, 38 years. Sad to see Winks go!

  • Doris D.

    We always stayed in a cottage on the beach within walking distance of Winks. The only grocery store. Loved it!

  • Judy

    I will definately come by for a visit Thanksgiving weekend!!

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