Bigger Than A Brand

The OBX logo has traveled all over the country, but there's a reason the trademark sticks close to home

You’ve seen it on vehicles traveling all around Outer Banks—and all up and down the East Coast for that matter—as well as on all kinds of merchandise imaginable, but did you know that the OBX logo has a story behind the sticker?

In the early ’90s, local restaurant owner Jim Douglas noticed a lot of European nation-style stickers on local cars, all being large, white, oval stickers with three solid black letters. From this observation, Douglas came up with three letters of his own—OBX, which he had printed on 2,500 simple stickers and began selling them at his restaurant, Chilli Peppers. Needless to say, they stuck.

A few years later, Douglas partnered with David Watson of Southern Shores Realty and Jill and Greg Bennett of Birthday Suits, popular beach stores on the Outer Banks. The letters were trademarked, and OBXStock, Inc. was born.

Douglas sold his portion to the other partners, who are consistently coming up with ideas to take the OBX magic to extraordinary new levels.

The logo has been wildly popular among the people who live on the Outer Banks year-round, but the truly fascinating part is how it’s caught on so well with visitors to the area. Jim Kenny of Island Xpertees, distributor of all OBX merchandise, says that when visitors come to the Outer Banks, they want to be part of the Outer Banks lifestyle, which is why the logo has become so popular. “It puts a face on the laid-back lifestyle of the Outer Banks,” he says.

The design is renewed every year, and since the logo continues to gain recognition, it has began appearing on more and more items including T-shirts, coffee mugs, shot glasses, flasks, bottle cap openers and even dog bandanas.

However, the bumper stickers are still the most popular item and have been spotted in places as far away as the Caribbean, Hawaii and Alaska.

Something very special about the authentic OBX brand is that it’s only produced on the Outer Banks and is only sold in local stores. “We have people ask us if they can sell OBX from outside the area, and we politely turn them down,” Kenny says. “If someone’s wearing something from the Outer Banks, it’s because they came here.”

There are some copycats out there, so when you purchase your OBX memorabilia, look for the Authorized OBX Retailer sticker on the outside of the store. “They’re making a conscious effort to support their local community,” Kenny says. “We stand by this knowing that it’s a local thing and that the revenue goes back into the community.”

Visit to discover the plethora of products displaying the OBX logo, or stop in any of the authorized OBX retail shops during your next visit to the Outer Banks!

Categories: Special Ad Section, Weekends