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  • Writer's pictureCarol Ann Ross

More Than A Gal

As you get older you start paying attention to the things that people actually do, not just what they say they will do. You pay attention to see if their knowledge is baloney or if it is founded on fact. And you listen to see If they’ll say, “I don’t know,” or if they’ll lead you down some road to make you believe they do. I think that’s called peeing on your head and telling you it’s raining.

But the Gun Gal is not one of them sort of people. Yes, that’s right, I’m speaking of this paper’s own Gun Gal, Dorothy Royal. You may not like everything she says, but she’s a straight shooter and she speaks from an informed point of view and heart. Be prepared to know what you’re talking about if you decide to cross opinions with Dorothy. She’s all about what really is, not just what it might be.

The truth is, there is a big drug problem in our area. There have been many suicides in recent years. This is sad, and everyone can talk about how sad it is, but who is doing anything about it? Some towns are building more and more houses, building more grocery stores, more gift shops, more bars-all this while our roads stay the way they were 50 years ago.

And what about the kids, the young people. What are they supposed to do, especially at night when only the bars are open? Dare I say it, but Idle hands are the work of the devil. When young people don’t have anything to do, they get in trouble. Well, I guess you can simply stick some kind of screen in front of their face and that might solve the problem. Yeah, right.

What do the local towns offer families? What are towns creating for families and their children? Unless you go to the beach, there is very little for them in our area (Holly Ridge, Topsail Island, Sneads Ferry).

My hat is off to Dorothy and her husband Ricky who own and operate Paradise Axe and Arcade. It is one of the only places that caters to family fun. It seems that Holly Ridge, the once ‘bump in the road’ seems to be coming to the plate and doing something for the families of our area.

I asked Dorothy what prompted her to start Paradise Axe and Arcade. She told me how she and Ricky were talking about the drug problem, about how people never get out and play anymore, how they are always on some kind of device. “Well, when you walk into the Arcade, you have to put your phone down to participate...people stay there for hours, they’re caught up in the fun, they interact with one another.”

This alone is to be commended and one must respect Dorothy’s decision to create something for the whole family. But Dorothy has done more, she took action when The Topsail Advertiser pulled up and left the area without a newspaper. Along with her daughter, she created The Topsail Times Newspaper. It fills a need and is an outlet that listens to everyone. She also supports local veterans, and hosts events for them. Dorothy is active in a community that is growing, supporting individuals interested in the town growing responsibly.

Though not born in North Carolina, Dorothy grew up visiting, as so many others have done. Her father was born in Wilmington and his extensive family still resides in the area today.

Dorothy was born in New York and grew up next to a 5,000 acre state park, Ward Pound Ridge Reservation, which she considered her playground. Her father, Henderson Cole was a senior physicist with IBM, who traveled extensively around the world. Her parents met while he was a student at MIT in Boston. Her mother, who was from Maine, spoke French until she was a teenager, was also a world traveler and worked for American Express Travel. Her mother also ran an art gallery in New York, which was her passion.

After graduating from college with a degree in criminal justice and equine studies, Dorothy knew her future was not in the high stress life of New York and decided to make a move to Topsail Island. She was familiar with the area and felt at home. Many of you may have known her great uncle Harvey Jones. Some of you may remember him, he owned and operated the Dolphin Fishing Pier, back in the day and built the Topsail Greens golf course (that is now just houses). If you didn’t know, he worked as an engineer and designed the Holly Ridge street layout for Camp Davis. Cole Street in Holly Ridge is named after his wife, Elsie Cole. Cole Street also happens to be one of the streets where Paradise Axe and Arcade is located.

When Dorothy moved to Topsail Island in 1991, she set up her first business, a print shop. A couple years later she met her husband Ricky, and together they started a land clearing company that evolved into a construction company. In 2009 she and Ricky opened Surf City Guns and Ammo. It’s located at 127 Sound Road, right next to Paradise Axe and Arcade.

Kudos to Dorothy for being such an enterprising woman, for caring about her community and doing something about it. Thank you Dorothy, for even though you do not hold an office, you have moved your community in a positive direction.

Dorothy with her brother and father in front of Dolphin Pier (left)

Dorothy with son and Sheriff Hans Miller (middle)

Dorothy in Wales (right)


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