Entrepreneurship Week 2019 Spotlights:


While growing up in the Reidsville area of Rockingham County, NC, sisters Abbey and Kristyn Carter spent lots of time in the kitchen, helping their mother with baking and cake decorating.  Abbey especially fell in love with baking and honed her baking craft.  While she was a high school student in the Early College program at Rockingham Community College, she had the opportunity to open her own bakery.  Aspen Bakery & Coffee Bar opened in June of 2017 in Wentworth and it has been full steam ahead ever since.

Abbey says her parents supported her entrepreneurial spirit and helped her get started with Aspen Bakery & Coffee Bar after the bakery where was working closed up shop.  “It just kind of fell in my lap when the previous owners decided to close.  They asked if we wanted to buy it and the rest is history,” said Abbey.

While Abbey was getting Aspen off the ground, her sister Kristyn was away at college honing her barista craft.  She eventually joined Abbey and brough her knowledge and skills for running a coffee bar to Wentworth.

Aspen Bakery & Coffee Bar is an old fashioned, home-style bakery and full service coffee shop offering a variety of pastries, southern sweets, specialty coffees and handcrafted coffee drinks, teas, and other desserts.  Abbey says their bakery is more of a country, home-style bakery offering classics such as Coca-Cola cake, red velvet cake, various pound cakes, wine cake and Reese’s peanut butter cheesecake.  They also make wedding cakes and do special order items.

The coffee bar serves regular coffee as well as specialty coffee drinks such as lattes, cappuccinos, frappes, smoothies and an assortment of hot teas.

“The best thing about opening our own business is the customers,” said Abbey.  “Everyone in the area has been so supportive and loyal and we appreciate that so much.  We love that we get to meet so many people and be a part of this community.”

Visit Aspen Bakery & Coffee Bar at 8460-C NC HWY 87 in the Wentworth area (next to Elizabeth’s Pizza).  Hours are Monday-Friday 6:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.


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 Little Pork 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.



Whitney Stewart grew up working in her father’s companies so owning her own business just comes naturally.  She launched A Sweet Southern Mess Antique Mall in early February 2019 in downtown Madison, NC and continues her family’s tradition of entrepreneurship.  Her antique mall offers vendor spaces as well as a walk-in bakery on site.

“I wanted to keep an antique mall open locally and offer people a place to sell things that they make, build or design,” said Whitney.  “I want this to be a place where people come to enjoy a great shopping day out.”

She has 35 booths available for vendors.  In addition, she also operates a full bakery and general store in-house.  There is also a salvage barn area that is open on warmer days.  Whitney hopes to use that space in the future to expand, offering more vendor booths.

Currently, A Sweet Southern Mess has vendors that sell boutique clothing, antiques, local art, handmade quilts, collectibles, refurbished furniture, jewelry, and essential oil products.

The bakery sells traditional bakery items such as cakes and cupcakes as well as coffee, ice cream, popcorn and other snacks.

“Madison has really come together over the last few years in promoting each other’s small business and supporting each other, and I didn’t want to miss an opportunity to join in on that camaraderie. I love the small town charm, and the idea that the Town of Madison could be a place where people want to come visit, whether to have an experience at Southern Spirits and enjoy their food, get a fresh coffee at The Mad Bean, shop the lovely boutique items at PBJ’s Boutique, get eloped at Bakery 1818, enjoy a home cooked meal at Bob’s Restaurant, get their farm supplies or dog food from Y&W Farm Center, or just walk up and down the streets and take in all that Madison has to offer,” she said.

Whitney added, “I hope that our store adds to this small town charm that everyone has come to know and love.”

A Sweet Southern Mess Antique Mall is located at 210 East Murphy Street in historic downtown Madison.  Hours are Tuesday-Thursday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.; Friday from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.; and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.

A grand opening celebration is planned for Saturday, April 27 from 1-6 p.m.  There will be food available to purchase by a local caterer, live music provided by local musicians, drinks for sale by Southern Spirits, and lots of door prizes.

For information on vendor spaces or to learn more about this new business, contact Whitney Stewart at 336.509.0961 or email:



Sutherland Products Inc., makers of Charlie’s Soap, original location and production facility in Mayodan, NC.

The original Sutherland Products Inc. cleaner, Charlie’s Soap, was created to clean 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

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

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.”

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:



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

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

Piedmont Distillers

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!

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.