Get to Know the Locals: Jeffrey & Nareina Keznor of hattiebuilt, hattiebuilt Jeep Rentals and Cape Cork & Bottle

By Molly Harrison | Wednesday, June 19, 2024

All across the Outer Banks are people doing their best to make a living while still finding time to enjoy this wonderful place they call home. In this edition of Get to Know the Locals, you’ll meet two of them, Avon residents Jeffrey and Nareina Keznor, owners of the hattiebuilt boutique, hattiebuilt Jeep Rentals and Cape Cork & Bottle.

The Keznors created the hattiebuilt lifestyle brand in 2014.

"Over the 40 years that we have been coming to Hatteras Island, we’ve always known how special this strip of sand is," Jeffrey says. "Throughout the years, we began to feel that the nickname OBX was associated more with the northern beaches of Kitty Hawk, Kill Devil Hills and Nags Head. We wanted to create a brand that was more in keeping with the laid-back and relaxed lifestyle of Hatteras and the area south of the Oregon Inlet. So, while on a camping trip to Ocracoke in 2014, the brand hattiebuilt was formed."

Owners of three very different Avon-based businesses, these guys start their days very early, detailing Jeeps for their rental business. Then they spend the majority of the day managing, ordering and merchandising their hattiebuilt boutique in Avon, until it’s time to put their beer-tapping and wine-pouring skills to use in the Cape Lounge at their newest business, Cape Cork & Bottle.

Next to Hattiebuilt in the Kinnakeet Shoppes, Cape Cork & Bottle is Hatteras Island’s first bottle shop and beer and wine lounge and already a gathering hotspot in Avon. They offer eight draft beers, copious amounts of bottled and canned beer, wines by the bottle or glass, zero-proof beverages and tasty gourmet snacks. The indoor lounge area offers a bar, tables and sofas, or you can sit on the pet-friendly outdoor deck, where there is occasional live music.

As you can see, Jeffrey and Nareina are super hard-working Hatteras Island business owners, but they definitely make the most out of island living. Keep reading to learn more about them and be sure to stop by one of their businesses and meet them.

Photo: hattiebuilt boutique and hattiebuilt Jeep Rentals are in the Kinnakeet Shops in Avon.

How long have you lived on the Outer Banks and how did you end up here?

We moved here in the spring of 2018.

What do you do for a living and how did you get into this line of work?

Jeff is a licensed aircraft mechanic and worked for American Airlines for many years. He can fix ANYTHING! He later worked for a materials handling company, first as a technician, then moved up to sales for the duration of his career. Nareina holds an interior design degree and has always found her career somehow associated with the home or interior of the home. Most recently, prior to Hattiebuilt, she worked for a commercial and residential flooring contractor in Virginia Beach. In addition, she is also a licensed realtor in the state of Virginia.

What motivates you to work hard in your line of work?

Thanks to our parents, we both always have held a very strong work ethic. When you love what you do, it doesn’t feel like work.

What’s your favorite thing about your job?

We are a great team; we work well together. We both love talking to our hattiebuilt followers and meeting new people. Seeing the same faces and families, year after year, makes everything worthwhile. Also, explaining our brand to folks who are new to Hatteras is a huge thrill, because they get it! They love the idea of a brand just for Hatteras Island!

What’s the most challenging part of your job?

The hours can be long, and we do miss spending time with our families during the summer months. However, we make up for it during the winter months while our shops are closed.

What’s your favorite OBX town or village?

Avon is our favorite village. It’s where we live and work and play. However, we will NEVER pass up a trip to Ocracoke Island.

Photo: Nareina and Jeffrey in their happy place.

What is your favorite thing about living on the Outer Banks?

Being surrounded by the water and sand is a blessing. There is no greater feeling than crossing the Oregon Inlet on a sunny day heading south, with your favorite song on the radio and the top down on the Jeep. It’s magical!

What is your favorite season on the Outer Banks?

Fall is our favorite season. The light seems to change, the island slowly begins to drift back into the sleepy state that lies ahead during the winter season.

What do you do for fun?

Having the opportunity to open our newest business has been fun! Squeezing in a Jeep ride on the beautiful beaches of Hatteras or Ocracaoke, watching the sunset over the sound, a bike ride in the village, margs at La Fogata, and anytime our toes are in the sand are a few of our favorite things.

What do you do in the off-season?

We work very hard for eight months out of the year in order to spend our off-season with our two daughters, their husband and boyfriend and our granddaughter. We try to plan one or two really nice vacations a year with them and our parents. Those trips are filled with memories, and we look forward to many more of them.

What’s your favorite beach access?

Ramp 72 on Ocracoke Island.

Describe your perfect day off.

Our perfect day off would be waking up without an alarm, making a big breakfast, easing into the day with no agenda and spending time with family.

Photo: Jeffrey and Nareina kick back at Cape Cork & Bottle, the bottle shop and lounge they opened in Avon this summer.

Do you see more sunrises or sunsets?

During the season, we see our fair share of both. Off-season rewards us with the luxury of sleeping in, so we definitely see far more sunsets then, lol.

What’s one thing you wish more Outer Banks visitors knew?

Relax and slow down, you're on vacation … so, what’s the hurry? Owning a shop along Highway 12 gives us full view of the erratic driving and speeding. Be mindful of pedestrians and don’t pass on the right!

Where do you go on vacation?

We LOVE to travel and experience new things and explore. Last winter we found ourselves on Eleuthera and Harbour Island in the Bahamas — it was beautiful! We’ve been to Belize twice now. The allure of Caye Caulker is drawing us back again this year. It’s rare that we go to the same place more than once, so that definitely says something about Belize! Although, we’d both choose the Amalfi Coast a million times over, if we had the choice.

For a celebratory dinner, would you rather order take-out, go out to eat or cook something at home?

Definitely out to dinner. Our anniversary is in late October, and it’s a tradition to visit Hatteras Sol just before they close for the season for our anniversary. That’s where you’ll find us this October celebrating our 30th year of marriage this year!

What is your favorite local seafood?

Peel-n-eats from Risky Business. Snowy Grouper sandwich from Chef Craig.

Do you have any side hustles?

Nareina started Hattiebuilt Interiors two years ago to fulfill her desire to help out-of-town homeowners spruce up their vacation homes.

Do you have any pet projects or is there a local nonprofit that you’re passionate about?

We love the Friends of Felines organization on Hatteras Island. We have several feral cats in our shopping complex, Kinnakeet Shoppes. We all help care for them; however, the true heroes are the volunteers for Friends of Felines. We also have supported H.I.M., Hatteras Island Meals, for the last several years, donating for their annual fundraiser.

What’s one item on your bucket list?

We both want to continue to travel. More specifically, Jeff wants to visit Australia, while Bali is on Nareina’s travel bucket list.

Photo: The hattiebuilt lifestyle brand focused on the Hatteras vibe can be found at the hattiebuilt boutique in Avon.

hattiebuilt, hattiebuilt Jeep Rentals and Cape Cork & Bottle are located in the Kinnakeet Shops, 40530 N.C. Highway 12 in Avon.

About the Author Molly Harrison
Molly Harrison is managing editor at OneBoat, publisher of She moved to Nags Head in 1994 and since then has made her living writing articles and creating publications about the people, places and culture of the Outer Banks.