Small Business Spotlight: Carolina Dune Buggies

Rockingham County, NC (August 14, 2020) – At the age of 13, Tony Edwards, owner of Carolina Dune Buggies (CDB) in Eden, NC, knew he had a love for cars, specifically VW. By age 14 he was building engines and wiring buggies, a trade he learned from his grandfather who he affectionately refers to as his hero. Edwards’ pure enjoyment and excitement for building is what ultimately led him back to building engines and dune buggies in his adult years and led to the creation of Carolina Dune Buggies.

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Edwards started CDB in 2013 with his friend Boyd Higgs. In 2016, Edwards bought out Higgs and relocated to his current facility on Moir Street in Eden. CDB provides top of the line fiberglass bodies, chassis, and accessories to dune buggy, kit car, and VW markets. When a customer comes in or calls, CDB is able to build everything from the ground up, specific to the needs and wants of the customer including color, carpet, seats, upholstery, and even tires. Once Edwards and his crew finish the build, the customer is driving off, with the biggest smile, none the less, in a truly custom, one of a kind, piece of work.

CDB is known worldwide for their parts and building skills. There is not a week that goes by that they do not receive a call from customers in other states and/or countries inquiring about making their dream of owning a dune buggy a reality.

“Who would have ever thought Rockingham County would be on the map worldwide for its availability of dune buggy parts?” questioned Edwards. “I am truly amazed at how this business has taken off over the years and even now. It brings me such joy to see the excitement on a customer’s face when they are finally able to drive their dune buggy out of the shop. It reminds me that I am in the business of not just building dune buggies, but I’m in the business of building dreams.”

Prior to the COVID pandemic, Edwards averaged 30 to 40 calls a day pertaining to parts and custom orders. Amidst COVID, business has surprisingly flourished with an increased call volume of approximately 50 to 60 calls per day.

“So many folks are laid off right now and have extra time on their hands. Many are using this time to bring their dream to a reality and to have something to look forward to each day,” suggested Edwards.

For inquiries about building your dream, email tony@carolinadunebuggies.com. Carolina Dune Buggies is open six days a week, Monday through Saturday from 9:00 am until 5:00 pm.

For more information or questions, please contact Tara Martin, Economic Development Marketing Manager at tmartin@co.rockingham.nc.us.

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Small Business Spotlight: Vibe Nutrition

Rockingham County, NC (July 14, 2020) – Vibe Nutrition, owned and operated by 24 year old Alex Nickerson, took the town of Madison by storm when it opened its doors June 15, 2020. Vibe Nutrition is a healthy smoothie and energy bar, which was the first of its kind on the western side of Rockingham County.

Alex got the idea for the shop after Crave Nutrition opened in Reidsville last year. She found herself driving across the county on a weekly basis to visit the shop, and quickly realized Madison needed something like this. After several conversations and lots of support from Crave Nutrition owner Victoria Ellis, Alex decided to take the leap of faith and become an entrepreneur herself.

The downtown area of Madison has flourished into what is now considered the heartbeat of the town, thus leading Alex to West Murphy Street as her business home. The location she chose was perfect for her efforts, small and quaint yet rich in history. The now Vibe Nutrition storefront was once a horse stable in the 1800’s which was later converted to the covered building you see today. Renovations for the building, which were done by building owner Chris Alvis, as well as Alex and her dad, Roy Nickerson, were simple with a huge impact, especially the exposed brick wall.

Business for the young entrepreneur has taken off and continues to grow. While she sees many new faces visit the store, she has also already established regular clientele who visit every day. “I have been blown away by the sense of community that has been shown to me since opening Vibe Nutrition,” states Alex. “Having been born and raised in Rockingham County, local support is something that is important to me.”

Vibe Nutrition is open Monday through Friday from 7:00 am – 6:00 pm and Saturday from 9:00 am – 1:00 pm each week. They offer 14 energy drink recipes as well as 30 shakes. They are located at 121 West Murphy Street, Madison.

For more information or questions, please contact Tara Martin, Economic Development Marketing Manager at tmartin@co.rockingham.nc.us.

Round About Way, Sisters Making Their Dream a Reality

Round About Way is a family owned art and gift shop located 3847 NC Hwy 87, 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 3847 NC Hwy 87, Reidsville.

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.

 

TREE ENTERPRISES IN REIDSVILLE

Tree Enterprises
Tish Terry in one of her storage rooms, featuring Tree Enterprises’ child care products.

Tree Enterprises is a small, family-owned textile business in Rockingham County, NC that began producing custom crib sheets for day care centers almost 40 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 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 now offer a range of colors, including exclusive custom prints that her daughter, Alexa, designed. “The great news is that we no longer get the “thirds” in colors and now have 11, 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 facility in Reidsville. The company has also added some part-time positions.

Though Tree Enterprises’ 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.

Piedmont Distillers, more than a decade of making ‘shine.

2020 marks the 15th 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 Distillers Midnight Moon Moonshine

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 15th Anniversary of doing business in Rockingham County!

www.piedmontdistillers.com
www.juniorsmidnightmoon.com

SUTHERLAND PRODUCTS, INC. IN MAYODAN & STONEVILLE

The original Sutherland Products Inc. cleaner, Charlie’s Soap, was created toclean textile machines in the local mills.  This homegrown, family company was founded by entrepreneur and self-proclaimed “tinkerer” Charlie Sutherland, Jr. in Mayodan, NC in the early 70s and was in the “green” products business long before “green” products were popular.   Fast forward more than 40 years and today the company is run by the next generation of Sutherlands, has two locations, is sold worldwide, and is a great success story of reinvention.

When the textile mills moved oversees, the second generation of Sutherlands—Charlie’s sons Taylor, James and Morgan—restructured and grew the business beyond industrial cleaning.  In 2002, Charlie’s sons took over, launched the Laundry Powder, rebranded the company and its products, and modernized operations.

Since then, Sutherland Products has enjoyed an average 25% growth year over year.  The company sells products online as well as through thousands of brick and mortar locations in all 50 states and 50 countries.

Charlie’s Soap family of cleaning products, manufactured in Rockingham County, North Carolina.

Using the same basic formula, which is all natural, environmentally safe and hypoallergenic, Charlie’s Soap now includes a full line of cleaning products from laundry detergent, all-purpose cleaners, indoor/outdoor cleaner, and more.  Still a family-run business, Sutherland Products’ growth can be attributed to a quality product that works well and is safe for the environment and sensitive skin—and best of all, the company was “green” long before green products were a trend.

Sutherland Products announced an expansion at the end of 2016 and opened a second facility, a new distribution and office complex in 2017.  The company invested over $1,000,000 in the purchase and upfit of  a 120,000 square foot building in Stoneville, which was a former furniture manufacturing facility.  The new Stoneville facility houses the company’s professional staff, packaging and warehouse. Production of Charlie’s Soap cleaning products remains in Mayodan, the company’s original base since 1976

“We were in  dire need of more space for our logistics and distribution, especially because our laundry powder has been hovering in the number one spot on Amazon for more than five years in a row now.  This new location has allow ed us to make that process more efficient,” said Taylor Sutherland, president of Sutherland Products, Inc. “The new space allowed us to design the offices and warehouse to include more natural lighting, which will make the work environment better for our employees.”

Morgan Stutherland stands in the new warehouse and office complex in Stoneville, NC.

Sutherland added, “Our new facility in Stoneville has also allowed us to better coordinate efforts to expand our product line and distribution throughout the U.S. and Canada.”

Look for Charlie’s Soap products at a retailer near you or visit the company’s web site: www.CharlieSoap.com.

A FUN, NEW BBQ RESTAURANT IN EDEN

One of Eden’s newest small businesses is That Little Pork Shop—a barbecue restaurant with a twist.  It officially opened its doors in December 2018 and owner Donna Hopkins takes pride in the fact that it’s “not your normal barbecue restaurant.”

Located at 629 Monroe Street in Eden’s Olde Leaksville district, That LittlePork Shop features pulled pork in traditional barbecue dishes as well as used in unique dishes. The menu includes favorites such as pulled pork sandwiches, pork quesadillas, pork salads, pork tacos, ribs, pork chop sandwiches, BBQ hush puppy balls, bacon and more.

They also feature 11 different barbecue sauces to suit all different tastes.  The menu includes chicken, salads, shrimp, burgers, flatbreads, and kids’ meals.    There is also a full beer and wine menu available.

That Little Pork Shop is open Mondays from 4-9 p.m.; Tuesday-Friday 11 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Saturdays from 4-9 p.m.