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Southport businesses cash in on 'Safe Haven'

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SOUTHPORT, NC (WWAY) -- Southport is attracting fans from all over thanks to the movie "Safe Haven." The movie was filmed in and around Southport last summer, and even hand-picked a few local stores for several scenes. Many of these stores have been cashing in on the movie which does not even hit the big screen until Valentine's Day.

"Southport my Safe Haven" is a website advertising t-shirts and other merchandise for sale online and in stores. One of the stores listed on the site is Winey Bears, but its owner says she is far from cashing in.

"If you hand make stuff you can't really cash in," Winey Bears owner Salley Winey said, "because, I mean, it is a lot of work."

Winey has handmade more than 20,000 teddy bears. Some bears even caught the eye of a very special buyer.

"Nicholas Sparks came up. I guess it would be like a cameo scene," Winey said. "He was just walking through while they were filming. He saw my bears, and he has two of them now."

Winey says Sparks fell in love with her bears and signed an entire collection. But instead of cashing in, Winey is giving back. Friday she is auctioning off a bear signed by Sparks, and all benefits go to the Providence charity in Southport.

Winey sees nothing wrong with Southport benefiting from the filming of "Safe Haven." She says that it will better the economy and enhance the community, though in her heart, it is also important to donate.

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