Check out Big Guns Coffee. This business in downtown Tryon, NC was the brainchild of...well, a child. Her dad, Marine veteran TShane Johnson is a bonafide hero. But to TShane, it's his daughter that is the hero.
Ben Seymour - Luthier
It takes a lot of patience and skill to do what Ben does. Check out a little about his life as an instrument maker and a musician.
Check out this short video and hear a bit out Robert and his bold move to leave Asheville and move to Tryon to start his own business.
Tryon Theatre, the movie theater in downtown Tryon, has been closed for months. The owners frequently switch out the marquee wording with encouragement to hang in there...they will return. After all, this movie house has been showing films since 1935. A few years ago it was completely renovated. They do open up for an hour on Friday and Saturday nights to sell that good old tasty movie house popcorn you can get nowhere else.
The whole community is ready to enjoy their home movie house once more.
Click on each photo for an enlarged version and a caption.
Bear is based out of Tryon. Bear and his truck can be found around the region and he’s available for festivals, catering, and other private events. Today he was parked and doing a brisk business in the parking lot of Cameroon Cigar Lounge (& Craft Beer Emporium) in Landrum.
Bear says, “At Bullhded, what we do is simple. Take parts salt, peanuts, mix it with grit…and the result is a Southern staple cooked to perfection.”
You can learn more at bullhded.com, but the best way to learn more is to give those peanuts a try.
Mocha's Mug - a Fast Focus Story
For months I’ve been eyeing the work going on inside the building at 212 Rutherford Street in Landrum. My patience paid off as I discovered that the new coffee shop was indeed open for business. Denis and Lori Friederich are the owners, the baristas, and the treat chefs. They’re still gearing up for a grand opening in a few weeks but for now you can tantalize your taste buds with some great coffee and coffee drinks, teas, whole-fruit smoothies (coming soon), and a variety of treats.
Lori says, “We want Mocha’s Mug to be a place where people can gather and create a bond. A place where people are refreshed in body and soul, and once you come through those doors we want you to feel like family.”
It’s an amazing transformation inside from past businesses that have occupied that space. I’ll have a full story after the grand opening but this news was too good to put off telling. Check them out Tuesday through Saturday from 7:30 AM until 2:30 PM. They do have a Facebook page.
By all counts, Mitch Stott has had a good life. He thanks a lot of people for that including his parents, his wife, and his “Father,” Jesus. He’s also blessed to have two children (now grown) and a grandbaby.
It’s a good life with lots of future still ahead. And by all counts, Mitch has already done a lot of amazing things. I mean truly AMAZING!
Mitch is still involved in drag racing but in a variety of different capacities. He’s out of the seat but serves as a consultant from time to time, has worked in design and fabrication, and currently provides color commentary for race videos for a wildly successful series of drag races in a “retro” drag racing league started by his brother Quain. (That’s a future story.)
Mitch is expanding what he does. His latest venture is a new company called Aviatix, which builds the entire remote control plane. (The name combines the words aviationwith fanatics, a perfect description of Mitch and his love of flying.) But in addition to his businesses, he sees spending more time with his granddaughter, Noravae, as a priority. Mitch Stott says he’s a blessed man, but it’s easy to see that he works hard to make things successful.
Mitch has some advice for parents these days. “Involve your children in things that require them to think, to read, and to learn. With all of the toys today that are play-ready right out of the box, they might be occupied with it but that doesn’t mean they’re learning anything. Let your kids build models where they have to read and follow instructions. It will give them, like it gave me, the knowledge about how things work. It can make a difference.”
Check out Down and Locked at: www.DownAndLocked.com
Click on each photo for an enlarged version. Captions accompany several of the photos.
Martha and Freida Graber have enjoyed the support they’ve received from the community and report that it has been a wonderful and successful year. Business has been good enough that they’ve had to bring in extra help from time to time. They cooked up over 100 pies just for Thanksgiving and this is on top of all the other wonderful food available Wednesday through Saturday on Highway 9 in the Green Creek community. Now that they’re more settled in they have at least a little time to think about the future. The ladies are taking advantage of the special seasons and holidays by cooking up some themed items such as Irish soda bread and special decorated cookies for St. Patrick’s Day.
They can’t wait for strawberry season to start so that they can cook up some of their famous strawberry pies made with local berries. Martha & Freida have some other ideas up their sleeves. They plan to do more with wedding cakes and even start a delivery service geared toward local assisted living and retirement communities.
Martha & Freida love the support from the community and you’ll more than love your stop inside this friendly neighborhood establishment.
So thanks to Martha & Freida for giving me the privilege of interviewing them for my very first story, and thanks for all the tasty treats I’ve enjoyed this past year.
And remember, get there early next Saturday to pick up a donut or two or an entire box.
Gay is a big believer in eating dessert first. Translation, “Do the reward first and then go back and do the other.” Too many people work, work, and work only to find themselves out of time when it’s time to have fun. Gay goes on to make the point to make time now for things that are important.
Zen Chick is Gay’s slow-down “business.” She maintains a website with regular blog posts filled with advice. She also holds local workshops and has people local and around the world connected to her via the web. She enjoys helping people find ways to put more enjoyment in their lives by living a simpler lifestyle. The tagline on Gay’s website (www.ZenChick.com) is: Slow Down, Simplify, Love Your Life.” She’s living proof that this works.
Of course she says you can’t just shirk your duties, but you might need to reassess priorities so that you can enjoy your life. Gay says people need to learn to say, “no.” You can’t do everything all the time. During our interview I saw that she had a bit of blue color in her hair and even I knew it wasn’t from old age! “Life is short, do what you want to do,” she says and adding a bit of spice to her hair is just an example.
Gay had this revelation one day while working in corporate America. She decided it was time to chunk that and do something new much to the amazement of her co-workers and bewilderment of her bosses. She enrolled in a program in chiropractic medicine but switched direction and decided to train as a massage therapist. This, she thought, could be her new pathway. A few months later she entered a massage therapy program, graduated, even served on an advisory board to help develop a licensure program for South Carolina. And now 26 years later she’s still running her own successful center in Spartanburg called “The Healing Touch.” Gay spends four days a week there and the other days she can be found on her farm and helping others learn that it’s okay to make a change even late in life.
Gay Barefield speaks from the heart. “Every day is a process in learning. Some days are scattered and complicated. But I have come a long way from being OCD in my 20s, very driven and changing careers in my 30s, still driven in my 40s, but settling into my new career. And now in my 60s, settling into my life – simplifying more and more!”
We can all learn from Gay. It’s time to slow down, simplify, and love your life.
Got a buck or two to help support this blog? Make my day. Click to help support my work.
The folks on American Pickers could learn some things from Lyddie Shaneberger. Lyddie (a nickname for Lydia) has been picking since she was one year old. Okay, maybe not quite that far back but that’s when she attended her first auction. Who knew this would be the beginning of a career direction and the creation of Lyddie’s business LS Mercantile + Salvage Co.
Now 25 years later, Lyddie can thank her parents for starting her out in the world of picking. They took her to that first auction and she hasn’t looked back since. She says picking is in her blood or perhaps it was her parents raising her with an appreciation of history and storytelling. Lyddie especially appreciates the storytelling part. She loves to ask questions and discover answers to the “treasures” she’s collecting. Where’d it come from? What is it? How old is this? Who are the people who once owned this? As Lyddie spent years learning about the business, it wasn’t until she was a teenager when she started to understand the monetary value of the items. And she understood the potential to “recycle” them or repurpose them and hopefully match up a buyer to her discoveries.
At age 16 Lyddie was already setting up shop; selling online with her own Etsy store. Just the year before her family’s life changed forever. Her father had an accident, a 30-foot fall from a hunting tree stand. He was left unable to walk. Lyddie looked for ways to help with family finances and that’s when she realized that her love of picking might not only help the family situation but could be her life’s calling. It has not always been an easy road.
“You won’t make it” is a phrase Lyddie says she and many other would-be small business owners have heard. For some, it’s enough to discourage them from trying. But for Lyddie…it was a challenge she would face head on. With encouragement from her parents, her boyfriend Dave, and her circle of friends - Lyddie has worked to take “pickin’ vintage” to the level of a serious small business endeavor.
Lyddie usually travels the Southern states but she’s planning a foray to the Northeast this coming fall. She’s forever on the lookout for the next big find. She says she doesn’t care to follow “trend” as some people in the business suggest. Instead she prefers to follow her heart. She picks what she loves and knows that someone else will love it too. There have been times when Lyddie has only had a $20 bill in her pocket and got lucky and found items that were worth hundreds. It happens. It takes street smarts. Lyddie Shaneberger has them.
Lyddie’s goal is to have her own storefront somewhere. It would also involve curating collections for people’s homes, having a space for artisans and makers, and possibly a market for each season for others like her to come together and create an experience that would be so good she could make Country Livingmagazine one day. She also hopes to graduate spring 2020 and even possibly start a MBA program while her boyfriend finishes his Ph.D. at Clemson.
Lyddie Shaneberger has some advice for would-be small business owners. “Do it. Do it with all of your heart and your patience. Be passionate about what you do and you’ll never wake up not wanting to go to work on a Monday. Work hard, be strong, and don’t let others get under your skin. You control your own life. So create who you want to be.”
Lyddie’s story should be an inspiration to us all.
More to know
You can find Lyddie’s unique collection of pickins’ at her space at “Workshop Vintage Market” at 108 North Lafayette Street in downtown Shelby and is open Monday, Tuesday, Saturday from 10 until 2 and Thursday & Friday 10 - 5:30. Do a search on Etsy using LS Mercantile + Salvage Co. to find her space in the cloud. Lyddie is also on Facebook and Instagram and you can reach her by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Lyddie was born and raised in Forest City and is appreciative of the sense of hard work instilled in her by her parents.
Mark Ray & Dad's Collectibles -
Rekindling the Past
Dad’s Collectibles has been around 20 years with most of those years being owned by Dean McWilliams in Hendersonville. When Dean was ready to slow down he handpicked Mark to be his successor. Mark moved the business to Saluda in October 2017. Nancy Pew is his partner who has helped make the store possible with financial support, business experience, and marketing skills.
Mark doesn’t just deal with models. He’s also into the big boy toys. He drives a ‘67 Ford LTD. You can’t miss it since he drives it to work when he doesn’t walk. You’ll see Holman-Moody decals proudly embellishing this perfectly restored car. Mark has worked with Holman-Moody for 20 years and now even sells their apparel in Dad’s Collectibles. Mark still has a body shop in Hendersonville where he orchestrates the work on restoring other unique vehicles. He’s excited about a 1966 North Carolina Highway Patrol Custom 500 that will be shared with the North Carolina Transportation Museum and will be featured at trade shows. And if you enjoy a brew or two in the gardens area at Sierra Nevada in Mills River and notice that little beer truck out back…that’s his restoration as well!
Mark has lots of projects ahead of him including seeing an excursion train run from Saluda to Zirconia. He has more cars to restore and more stories to tell. Throw your kids in your car, drive back in time, and visit Mark Ray and Dad’s Collectibles before they glue their eyes back to the screen on their phone. It’s worth your time.
More to Know
Dad’s Collectibles is located at 32 W. Main Street in Saluda and is inside the Historic Saluda Depot. Store hours are 10:30 – 5, Tuesday through Saturday and by appointment. Mark’s website is www.DadsCats.com and you can email him at email@example.com.
Shop phone is 828/ 769-9016.
Click each photo to see an enlarged version in the gallery.
L J Meyers - Homeward Angels
Fast-forward several decades and LJ and his boys were visiting the South Carolina State Fair in Columbia. LJ steered his sons to the barn with the birds and they loved seeing all the different types and colors and sizes. But when the boys learned that birds could be raced their eyes lit up and LJ knew they were hooked. That led to LJ starting his first loft and the entire family enjoyed raising and racing the birds. LJ and his family continued to race birds for several years but as the boys started to outgrow their interest, LJ’s excitement never waned.
The dove releases can symbolize all kinds of things depending on the event. It’s not always easy as some occasions are very sad and others joyous. But watching a release has an impact on everyone who witnesses it. His Homeward Angels reach into your soul. The dove release can help bring closure on one day and it can mark the beginning of something new on another. LJ says, “It’s not about the birds but about the symbolism and the birds are the conveyance of that special meaning.” Everyone who sees or participates in one of LJ’s white dove releases comes away a changed person. It’s a great feeling.
More to know
LJ Meyers provides professional white dove releases for private and public events and ceremonies. Fees depend on travel distance, number of birds requested, and any special services LJ might need to provide. He is, by the way, an ordained minister. LJ does a lot of releases as a community service at no charge. Photos are from a recent 9/11 ceremony and a Veterans Day release. You can contact LJ at 864/ 457-4676 (home), 864/ 357-5581 (cell), by email at firstname.lastname@example.org. His website is: HomewardAngelsWhiteDoves.com. LJ is a member of the National White Dove Release Society.
A sample of a release. This is from an impromptu Veterans Day release L J provided in Landrum.
You can also see the video by clicking this link. This might help if the video below is slow to load.
L J recruited a few kids to help him with an unannounced dove release on Veterans Day at the Veterans Memorial in Brookwood Park in Landrum, SC.
Click on each photo below to see an enlarged version and captions.
I asked Tyrone if he remembers any coffee-business stories since he’s gotten started. He says of course just meeting new customers and having them return is good enough for him, but he did remember a time when one customer ordered a drink and only had a $100 bill to pay for it. Tyrone didn’t have enough change so the customer said he’d go get change and come on back and pay up. He never did, but then one day Tyrone found a $100 bill in his tip jar. He didn’t know which customer gave it to him…but it was a sign of good things to come.
Tyrone Perry is driving the coffee business in more ways than one. Next time you see the red Java Up trailer parked along side the road…make a stop, order a drink, and know you’re doing your part to “shop small.” You’ll make a new friend at the same time.
More to know
Tyrone will be happy to bring his Java Up trailer to your location for just about any kind of special event, and he’s always thinking ahead to future locations. Give him a call at 864/ 814-8067 if you’re interested or if you just want to know where he’ll be tomorrow. His email is JavaUpCafe@gmail.com and you can follow him on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
Paul is his own boss but this doesn’t mean he can just do what he wants! Since his hours are posted he’s got to be there. His customers expect it and aren’t always forgiving if Paul says he opens at 7 and doesn’t make it in until 7:05. Paul says unless he’s contagious he’ll be there even when he’s not feeling so great. Most of us would call in a sick day, but for the self-employed missing a day means you don’t pay the bills. Paul talked about a time he broke his hand and had to plead with the doctor to leave two fingers free so he could at least hold a comb. Luckily for Paul (and probably his customers) it was his left hand and Paul holds the clippers in his right.
Paul enjoys his work and his customers. He has some memories of things that have happened in his shop including the time a would-be groom runs in looking for two “witnesses” so that he could get married over at the Polk County Courthouse, just around the corner. Two customers quickly volunteered and as far as we know the couple is still married. Paul has a few standing gags like occasionally spraying water over the small play area where little kids are waiting for their haircuts only to have it fall down from the sky. They look upward and Paul makes a little joke saying it must be from the leaking toilet upstairs. Well, they get grossed out and then Paul has to explain that there is no upstairs.
More to know
Paul’s Barbershop is located at 40 East Mills Street in Columbus. 828/ 817-4598, but don’t call for appointments. It’s a wait your turn shop…but it’s never a long wait!
It takes a bit of luck to find the Country Peddler Antiques & General Store in downtown Campobello. It’s a couple of blocks off of the main drag and that makes it in the country by Campobello standards. The morning I visited a customer walked in for her second visit in two days. Heather, the customer from Greer, had just discovered the store the day before because of a bridge detour which took her right past the Country Peddler. She liked what she saw so much she made a second trip to pick up some items she had eyed on day one and picked up that and some other finds she hadn’t planned on day two. That’s what makes a shop like this so much fun—you’ll never know what you’re going to find.
Jeaneen isn’t quite ready to embrace social media so a Facebook page is just not in the current marketing plan. So if you want to “like” this place, you’re going to need to go check it out in person. Slow down and enjoy your stay.
UPDATE: Jeanneen reports she DOES have a Facebook page and is learning to use it. So search for Country Peddler Antiques & General Store and look for a photo of Pappy. Then, click that "like" button.
“Do what you love” is Jeaneen’s advice to anyone looking to start any kind of endeavor. It’s obvious she loves what she’s doing.
More to Know
Click each photo to see an enlarged version.
Cherie has had an amazing set of career experiences starting with being one of the youngest students enrolled in Moorpark College’s world-renowned animal training program commonly known as “America’s Teaching Zoo.” She’s spent years at Marine World in California, served as Dogtown Manager at Best Friends Animal Society Sanctuary in Utah, taught SCUBA diving classes in a variety of places where she interacted with marine life, ran her own wildlife education program in Washington, worked on a cruise ship, and ended up a few years ago as a caretaker for several animals on a 200-acre estate in Waynesville. That experience led her to Polk County where she and Ron have lived for the past couple of years. Ron is “retired,” but Cherie has happily found herself in demand helping animal parents in the region learn how to make the relationship pleasurable for pets and their parents. She gets referrals from area vets, rescue programs, the local Humane Society shelter, and from her clients. Business is booming.
Cherie has advice for people looking for that perfect pet and it begins with doing your research. Just because you want a Jack Russell doesn’t mean it’s the right dog for you. Prospective pet owners should match their own lifestyle with the personality and lifestyle of the animal. Some are noisy, some are messy, and all take a lot of care. If you’re choosing a trainer, ask for references and watch a training session to see how the trainer and the animal interact. You can tell a lot by the demeanor of the pet during these sessions. They shouldn’t cower in fear, and that’s not the approach Cherie takes. She showers love and kindness on the animals and might use a bit of cheese (or other tasty treats) to use as rewards and the animals learn better that way than by fear and intimidation. Again, do your research.
Cherie has had her brushes with fame in the past. She’s trained a l,500 pound Hampshire hog to roll out a red carpet and bow on Hal Linden’s late 70’s TV show Animals, Animals, Animals. And once she taught a chicken to dance and play the piano for actor John Travolta’s birthday party. But while Cherie will help you teach your pet some tricks if that’s what you want, she’s more about helping you and your pet both enjoy being with each other. That’s what’s most important to her.
More to Know
Cherie has a busy schedule but does have room from time to time for new clients. In addition to her training work, she does occasional pet and farm sitting, provides help with medications and bandages, etc. Contact Cherie at email@example.com and check out her website at: https://allpetstraining.com.
A big setback occurred just a few months after opening day. There was a late-night fire at the laundry that adjoins her building. While Andrea’s store didn’t suffer any direct damage from the fire, all her clothing stock was ruined from smoke damage. Most people would use this as a good excuse to lock the door for good. But not Andrea Whiteside. The store has just recently celebrated its first anniversary after reopening following the fire.
Andrea has yet to make a profit but she’s optimistic and doing her best to make this succeed. She’s received good advice from customers, from friends, and from Faye Bishop, the director of the Small Business Center at Isothermal Community College.
I asked Andrea what advice she would give to someone thinking of starting a business. Andrea, someone without any previous retail experience, says, “Be willing to take advice. Go to school. Ask for help. Find out what the people want. And do one thing and do it well.”
Andrea started the store for several reasons. One of course is that she herself is a “plus size” and knows how hard it is to find clothing that she likes. She knew there were plenty of potential customers faced with the same situation and why not be the store that can help?
Andrea’s Plus Size Clothing is more than “just” a store. She has become a de facto “counselor” helping people – friends and strangers, when they come in with something on their minds. She listens and listens and then offers them comfort. She recalls a homeless person who came into the store one day and she knew this woman needed some help. The woman said she just needed someone to talk to and Andrea was her rock in that time of need. Her pastor says the store is not just a store, it is Andrea’s own little ministry.
It has become a “calling” for Andrea to make this work. No doubt she will.
More to Know:
Andrea’s Plus Size Clothing is located at 415 Main Street in Spindale. 828-447-9737. She’s open Monday, Tuesday, and Thursday through Saturday. Check her Facebook page for hours. In addition to clothes, the store carries jewelry, handbags, scarves, and other accessories including some items handmade right in the store by Andrea herself. Clothes styles are changed with each season.
Owning a restaurant isn’t for everyone, but for Michaila Cowles…it’s everything.
Michaila started running a bakery in Lake Lure (also called Huckleberry’s) while in high school and at age 16 she could smell success. She enrolled in Johnson & Wales University in Charlotte concentrating in several disciplines including culinary arts, food service, hospitality & tourism, and bakery & pastry. Michaila finished a six-year program in four…and that doesn’t surprise me one bit. All of that added to her already solid experience with her own bakery and on New Year’s Eve 2014 she opened the current Huckleberry’s.
Michaila wears all the hats in the business but she’s not alone. A staff of nearly 15 takes care of running the restaurant open seven days a week. Her family is also involved; her mom handles marketing, sister helps everywhere, and dad even designed and built the woodstove that cooks all the wood-fired specialties. She says she has the best staff and keeping a good staff is one of the challenges for any business owner.
Owning a restaurant isn’t for everyone, but for Michaila it’s everything. She enjoys being her own boss but it has its downfalls including the long hours. Michaila wears all hats and some days floats between front of house duties and kitchen work. “Some days I don’t have a set job, other days I’m dedicated to the chef whites and am working on the line. Some days I get to dress like the girls and wait tables, and there are days I’m staying late washing dishes. It’s all good.”
She does offer a bit of advice to anyone thinking of starting a business like hers…try it first! It’s not an easy life. In fact it’s hard. Long hours, every day, all year. It takes a lot to open a restaurant and even more to keep it going. Huckleberry’s is successful for several reasons including Michaila’s drive and hard work and the dedication of her staff. Of course having great food helps!
More to Know: Huckleberry’s is open seven days a week and is located at 62 North Trade Street (the main drag) in downtown Tryon. 828/ 436-0025. The restaurant seats about 120 counting indoor and outdoor patio seating. Boots & breeches are always welcome and dogs can join their people parents on the patio. Beer and wine are available now and a new full bar will have a grand opening on May 5 with 19 North Carolina distilleries offering tastings. In fact, it’s going to be a big celebration with a small section of Trade Street closed for a block party featuring craft vendors, two live bands, and food. Check the website for more info at www.huckleberrystryon.com.
The spelling of Michaila is itself an interesting story. She says she was born during a hailstorm and that’s how the name came about. You’ll need to ask her yourself if this is true.
Click on the pictures below to enlarge.
More to Know:
Martha’s Amish Bakery & Sandwich Shoppe is located in the Green Greek Community at 6431 Highway 9 South just a stone’s throw from the blinking light at the corner of Landrum Road and Highway 9. They’re open Wednesday through Saturday for early morning snacks, tasty lunch sandwiches, coffee, and more. Check them out on Facebook. Phone: 828/ 863-4643.
...retired in 2017 from a life of work, mostly in education. I decided it was time to stop commuting and stay at home a while. Foothills Faces is meant to bring you short snippets of life through photography, videography, and audio recordings of some of the wonderful people and places of the Carolina Foothills..