Piedmont Distillers, more than a decade of making ‘shine.
2015 marked the 10th anniversary of operation for Piedmont Distillers in Madison. This small distillery, which was the first legal distillery in the state, has come a long way since 2005 when Joe Michalek founded the company in the old train depot in downtown Madison.
Piedmont’s first product was Catdaddy Carolina Moonshine, which harkens back to the moonshining days-of-old with its corn recipe, secret flavors, copper still and small batch process. It took a few years for the product to catch on but soon it did.
Michalek’s marketing background allowed him to connect with NASCAR and moonshine legend, Junior Johnson. The two partnered in 2007 in creating a new brand of products, Junior Johnson’s Midnight Moon, based on Johnson’s family’s moonshine recipe.
With two products and the Junior Johnson name, Piedmont Distillers gained momentum. In just six years, demand for the company’s products was such that Piedmont Distillers was forced to relocate from the old train depot building into a larger space. The company expanded and relocated to its current location on US Highway 220 in Madison in early 2012 with 18 employees and two bottling lines.
The partnership with Junior Johnson was genius. Not only does he bring his racing fame to the company, Johnson also brings a family moonshine legacy. And that helped the company’s business skyrocket and lead to another expansion within a year’s time that included doubling the staff and adding more lines.
The Junior Johnson Midnight Moon family of spirits now includes the original recipe and 100 Proof plus seven, handcrafted, real fruit inclusions: Apple Pie, Blackberry, Blueberry, Cherry, Cranberry, Strawberry, and the newly introduced, Raspberry. The company now operates eight bottling lines, has about 100 employees, is sold in all 50 states and is looking for room to grow again.
Michalek attributes much of the company’s success to the authenticity of the product: handcrafted in small batches, made from corn and triple-distilled. “It really is handmade with real fruit and our team even hand applies every batch label, lid and closure seal– just like Junior used to do it in the North Carolina Mountains all those years ago.”
Congratulations to Piedmont Distillers on its 10th Anniversary of doing business in Rockingham County!
Tree Enterprises, family-owned textile company grows into new markets
Tree Enterprises is a small, family-owned textile business in Rockingham County that began producing custom crib sheets for day care centers more than 30 years ago. Jim Jefferson, who started the company to provide sheets for a friend’s child care center, made and sold the sheets out of the basement of his Stoneville home. “Those sheets were cut out by hand on our kitchen table from Fieldcrest sheeting that we bought from the “thirds and worse” box at the factory outlet. The colors were the worst of the worst, but the quality was the best of the best,” said Tish Terry, Jim’s daughter and current owner of Tree Enterprises.
It was that high quality sheeting that grew Tree Enterprises’ reputation and success, allowing the company to be run by the next generation now. Jim’s daughter Tish Terry took over the family business about 10 years ago and is growing the company, doubling the sales over time.
When Fieldcrest closed, Tish began importing sheeting fabric from China that is pre-sewn for the final step of adding locally-made elastic. This allowed her to expand the company’s product line and nowoffer a range of colors, including three exclusive custom prints that her daughter, Alexa Terry, designed. “The great news is that we no longer get the “thirds” in colors and now have 10, in-stock solid colors, plus the custom prints.” added Tish.
Tree Enterprises now offers a diverse variety of specialty products to complement the sheeting line. The company manufactures nearly 200 variations of 14 different products, which includes sheets, burp cloths, blankets, pillows, play mats and more.
Tish has also grown the business by expanding into more child care centers over a broader geographic base. She also developed a significant business by supplying US Military child care centers. She continues to expand Tree Enterprises into new markets and most recently won several national Head Start accounts as well as business from franchise day care centers.
All this growth resulted in a new facility for Tree Enterprises about two years ago when Tish built a new facility in Reidsville. The company has also added three part-time positions.
Though the company’s competition tends to be large commodity suppliers, Tish has been able to differentiate the products based on high quality—higher end materials designed to last longer and be easier to clean and reuse. Customer service and customer relations are also essential to the company’s growth and the perfect complement to its premium product line. “High quality sheeting is what our customers have grown to expect from us and we will not deviate from that expectation from our manufacturers now. Ours is a true family business, and when you call you will likely talk to me, my mom or my daughter Alexa,” said Tish.
To find out more about Tree Enterprises and its products, visit www.treeenterprises.com.
Round About Way, sisters making their dream a reality
Round About Way is a family owned art and gift shop located 101 South Scales Street in downtown Reidsville. Sisters and Reidsville natives, Dobie Sharpe and Tena Isaacs, opened the business in 2010 and have been steadily growing it ever since.
“Opening a shop like this was something we had talked about for some time. There was another similar store in town that was closing so we saw that as an opportunity. Then we got advice from the RCC Small Business Center and finally made it happen,” said Dobie Sharpe, co-owner of Round About Way.
The shop features a variety of locally made pottery, wood turned goods, handmade jewelry and artwork as well as other retail and gift items. Round About Way also hosts a number of classes for the community on a regular basis in the areas of jewelry-making, basket weaving and painting. “There’s always something going on here,” added Sharpe.
Since its opening, the sisters say their business has been on a steady climb. Their customer base is a good mix of locals and people from Virginia, Greensboro, Winston-Salem, and the Raleigh-Durham area. “We feel very lucky that there seems to be someone in here all the time,” said Sharpe. “And once people find us and visit for the first time, they usually come back. So a lot of our business is from repeat customers.”
In addition to the two co-owners, Round About Way also has two part-time employees. “We are happy that we have been able to provide these part-time jobs in our home town,” added Sharpe. “Because we are natives of Reidsville and Rockingham County, people know us. And that has been a big plus for us.”
The sisters have found their biggest challenge in running the business to be the never-ending workload. “We are constantly working towards the next week and it really feels like being ‘married’ the business,” said Sharpe.
Round About Way is located at 101 South Scales Street, right along the roundabout in the street. Store hours are:
Monday-Friday 11 a.m. – 5 p.m.
Saturday 10 a.m. – 4 p.m.
Information about the shop and the classes offered can be found on their Facebook page.