The Purple Carrot offers gourmet food and gifts

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By Corinne Holroyd

Hampton Union, February 25, 2014

[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]

Cassie Lagrua of the Purple Carrot
Cassie Lagrua, owner of The Purple Carrot, loves the community
surrounding her new gift shop in Hampton and has a variety of
items to explore. [Deb Cram photo]

HAMPTON — Cassi LaGrua has had a couple of busy months. She and her husband, Paul, moved from Singapore back to the U.S. with their two daughters; Paul got a new job; and the family opened a new business: The Purple Carrot.

"My husband saw it as a great opportunity so we're giving it a try," LaGrua said.

The Purple Carrot, located at 3 High St., is a new experience and challenge for LaGrua, who sells a mix of local artisan pieces, consignment items and gourmet products.

"I want to find a niche with local people in town," LaGrua said, "so they can help me and I can help them and we can bring in more business to town."

Locally made products include pottery, jewelry, cards, soaps, and knitted and crocheted items.

LaGrua, however, said that she is trying to get more into the gourmet side of the business, selling items "like oils, vinegars and pepper jelly."

The name of the store was the result of LaGrua trying to come up with unique names that hinted at some of the gourmet food items she sells, but not outright say the store was only about food.

"It was a little of brainstorming between my mom, sister and my husband," LaGrua said. "So it (The Purple Carrot) was the one that stuck."

Cassie Lagrua in front of her store
Cassie Lagrua shows off a cute and cuddly bear as she wants people
to know about her new gift shop in Hampton. [Deb Cram photo]

LaGrua and her sister also designed the store's logo — consisting of three carrots, two of them orange, the center one purple — in November. Soon she put the logo on a sign for the shop with the words "The Purple Carrot Gift and Gourmet."

"It's off and on, sometimes it's hectic," LaGrua said about opening her shop.

LaGrua opened The Purple Carrot in the first week of October, a month after the family returned from Singapore, where both Cassi and Paul were teachers.

"I was previously a Physical Education teacher at an international school," Cassi LaGrua said.

Paul worked as a gymnastics coach in a different international school with children in elementary through middle school.

Their daughters, ages 16 and 14, have lived in Singapore with their parents since the family moved there 12 years ago.

LaGrua said her family moved back to the U.S. to be closer to their relatives as well as for their daughters, who have been out of the country since they were four and two years old.

"We wanted to give our daughters an opportunity to live in the U.S.," LaGrua said. "As they got closer to university age we thought that would be more beneficial to them."

Cassie Lagrua of the Purple Carrot
Cassie Lagrua works with many local artists that have their works
at The Purple Carrot, her new gift shop in Hampton. [Deb Cram photo]

While LaGrua works in The Purple Carrot, her husband found a job with the Seacoast branch of Arthur Thomas Property Management, which is in the same building, but a separate room.

While LaGrua joked that working with her husband in the same building is "so far so good," and they both "are hoping it stays that way," she also knows they could feed off of each others' businesses and bring in more people.

The Purple Carrot is open Monday through Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and is closed on Sundays and public holidays, according to the store's Web site.

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