Dani Almeyda and Tim Anderson – Owners, Original Strength Institute
For seven years Original Strength Institute (previously known as OPT) has been thriving in Fuquay-Varina. Owners, Dani Almeyda and Tim Anderson, have been taking growth in strides- moving locations, rebranding, and building up a huge following within our community along the way. Today I sat down with Dani to learn more about Original Strength Institute.
Dani always knew she was going to be in the health and fitness industry, attending school for Sports Management and Exercise Science. It was natural for Dani to move into an entrepreneurial role, she grew up in a family full of entrepreneurs. Dani shares with me some of her favorite parts of being a small business owner and beams when she shares of her passion for “forming relationships” with her clients and watching them reach their goals. Dani also enjoys working hard, but having the flexibility to spend time with her two young children.
Trainers hear everyone’s deep dark confessions! Dani’s laughs when I asked her some of the funny confession stories she has heard over the years, “A client came in the other day and broke down to me “I had birthday cake for breakfast”! Dani laughs and tells me there is no need to apologize to your trainer if you eat cake, or skipped a workout, but says she could “write a book about the funny things” people have told her.
It may come to a surprise to you that our community’s prized gym is also the sister company and headquarter location for an internationally known company, Original Strength. Original Strength educates other gyms, coaches, healthcare professionals, and physical therapists how to teach their clients/patients press reset and live their lives better! These programs are distributed and taught worldwide, Original Strength is a big deal! Tim has written several books and teaches movement to be able to live lives to the fullest extent – even into our 90’s! “Much like resetting an electronic device after its not working well, we can press reset on our bodies to help us feel better and move better” Dani tells me. Being able to spread the message that movement can heal and to help people lead healthy lives is important to Dani and Tim.
OSI has been operating out of Downtown for years now, being a part of the Downtown family means the world to Dani and OSI “we love being a part of the community and getting others involved” she explains. Working with many Downtown businesses and supporting other businesses in Downtown is something OSI is energized about. When Original Strength hosts conferences in town you will often see Dani and Tim leading groups of people in and out of our Downtown businesses, showing off what makes our Downtown unique and charming.
It is clear when you walk inside that Original Strength Institute is not your average gym. OSI hosts specialized ninja classes for kids, training classes for our towns 5k, self-defense classes, mommy and me classes, and much more- there is something for everyone! Dani tells me the plan is to expand their educational programing even more and expand the gym into other towns. We will be on the watch to see this great Downtown business and what they have in store for us next!
Dani let me ask her some rapid fire questions as we finished our lunch! She ate WHAT?!
Cleaning golf balls!
Favorite sport? Favorite team?
Volleyball. The Bears (NFL)
Best 90’s song?
Meat Loaf “I Would Do Anything for Love”
Best place to escape in Downtown?
Grossest food you’ve ever eaten?
I ate a worm, I thought it was fake.
I like to rock out in the mornings, check out my daily flow on Facebook or Instagram
Favorite subject in school?
Best day of the week?
Favorite place to vacation?
Bermuda or Beech Mountain
I loved hanging with Dani!
Interested in learning more? Check out Original Strength Institute online and on Facebook!
If you live in Fuquay-Varina, or have ever visited our charming town, you have probably heard the whispers about a delightful little bakery called “Stick Boy Bread Company”. This cult classic took Downtown by storm in 2008 and hasn’t looked back since. Today I spoke with Katie Dies, Owner of Stick Boy Bread Company, to learn more about this sweet treat that has been serving Downtown for years.
With 28 smiling staff members, Stick Boy currently offers over 30 breads on a rotational schedule. If bread isn’t your favorite item on their menu, sticky buns, cheesecake, or smoothies might be- Stick Boy really has it all! Katie talks excitedly about what makes Stick Boy work, and reveals that she felt the biggest moment of success came on the stores first anniversary, about the same time wholesale accounts started contacting her to feature Stick Boy products in their stores. Katie tells me about some of the challenges Stick Boy has faced as well. “We opened in 2008, right when the economy tanked. The cost of flour tripled- we really weren’t anticipating that”. They had to figure it out- they use a lot of flour! The Dies worked through that challenging time with help from their loyal customers, of which they have many today.
Josh, a former Engineering Draftsman, and Katie, a former Real Estate Agent, knew they wanted to open a space in their community where friends could gather, enjoy a cup of coffee and a pastry. Katie had worked for Stick Boy Bread Company in Boone, North Carolina during her college years and loved “everything about it”. Josh and Katie studied the business and decided to open their doors in 2008 after 7 long months of construction, much of which they did themselves. They process was “scary and long”, Katie even served at the projects General Contractor!
Katie and Josh Dies have become fast friends of mine. Their love for their community, friends, and family, while owning two businesses, serving on many committees, volunteering, and caring for two small (and very sweet) young boys is an inspiration to me. “We love what we do, we love our customers, we are very thankful” Katie remarks. I asked Katie how they make time, not surprisingly Katie laughs, and tells me “lots of coffee”! Katie and Josh have an entrepreneurial spirit, Katie has “a tough time passing by an old building without daydreaming” but reveals they have “no plans to open another business anytime soon”.
Katie and I finished our chat with a brief Q&A
“Magic…no, Chocolate Chip…no…yes… okay definitely Chocolate Chip”
Where were you born?
Dies Family Pets?
“Boone, our 12 year old sweet Hound dog”
Current TV show you’re watching?
“Homeland, I love Claire Danes”
Favorite type of Pizza:?
“How specific can I be? Okay- Giordano’s Deep Dish Sausage and Mushroom pizza, from Chicago. FYI, they’ll ship a pizza in the mail”.
How do you take your coffee?
“Black, iced coffee only…Iced Black Americano”
Favorite type of beer?
“IPA’s- Booneshine IPA to be specific”
Least favorite animal?
“I’m going to make some enemies here…cat’s. But only because I’m super allergic”!
What is your dream vacation?
“Venice, Italy. Although I would like to go on a European Tour and do some ‘market research’”.
That was a fun cup of coffee with Katie Dies! Be sure to stop by Stick Boy Bread Company on Main Street in Downtown and say Hello!
Certainty … There are some things in life you can pretty much count on. One of those things is when you walk into David Anthony’s you will probably see “Eleanor” standing at the gift-wrap area. She’s there to greet you, ask you about your day and of course, get you all taken care of when it comes to the perfect gift! Since 1984 this downtown gem has helped people spread joy with their friends and family. Originally owned by Betty Joyce (Kinton) Sammons, Eleanor purchased the building and business in 1988 and for 28 years has worked six days a week with enthusiasm that might make you wonder if she has a caffeine patch on her arm. Maybe it was her training as a Campbell College Cheerleader (yes, “college” was what they called it when she attended the school) or her genuine love of what she does, but whatever the reason … NOTHING seems to be able to slow down this southern bell.
Eleanor’s customers often will tell you they shop at David Anthony’s because “Where else can you walk into a store, find the perfect gift, have it wrapped for FREE and be out the door in 15 minutes.” Yes, folks …. That is even with the “David Anthony’s SIGNATURE bow on top. If you don’t believe them …. go in and try it for yourself! As I was visiting with her a customer walked in. Eleanor quickly said his name, asked about his wife and they both spent time talking about what was happening in their life. It was genuine. It was real. It was “Eleanor”.
Eleanor Stephenson genuinely cares about people and about Fuquay-Varina. She loved sharing with me how she was born in the house to the left of John Adcock’s office on Academy Street and how she and her very best friend “growing up”, Mollie (Ashworth) Stephenson, would walk to Elliott’s each day after school. She talked about the days when she loved working with brides as they purchased their china and gifts at David Anthony’s. Before the days of Bed Bath and Beyond, Target, etc. she would have around 20 brides during a summer. Talk about an economic stimulus package for a mom and pop! Her eyes lit up as she recalls the MANY teenagers she has hired all through the years as “David Anthony’s” was often times their very first job. Landing a role on the staff is something she has NEVER had to advertise. She smiles and says, “You know, anytime I’ve ever needed a new staff person, they just show up! I know God did that!” She reflects and in her eyes you can see how she loves the memories and how each one made an impact on her life.
The big box stores have taken a hit on many small business owners. She said she has many loyal customers and many new to the area seem to really grasp that supporting the mom and pops is so important. She makes certain what she carries you can’t find in the cookie cutter stores of mass production. She has even started offering a “vintage section” in the store where items of real craftsmanship are offered for sale or as she chuckled … a walk down memory lane for people.
For a business owner of this length of time you would think they would be tired. But not THIS GIRL. I think she came from “good genes” as I learned her mother was the very first Woman Vice President of a bank in NC. That bank is now what we call “Fidelity Bank”. Eleanor does not stop. She is the first one to jump on an idea and the first one to help a local cause. She sells books for the FV Woman’s Club and FV Museums. Anytime I’ve needed her, her answer is always “Sure”! It is that willingness to help and to be entrenched with what happens in FV is what I believe has kept her going for so many years.
As I walked around the store, she loved showing me so many wonderful new things that she was carrying. Jewelry continues to be a big seller for her and her coffee has been a product that has always been a steady staple. Her roaster is from Raleigh so once again … she preaches the “local”. If you are a fan of David Anthony’s FB page you will see items posted daily that will inspire you to head down to see “Eleanor” THAT week. You will walk out happy, not just by the purchase but because you were able to spend some time with “Eleanor”. Greatest GIFT of all!
Until the next conversation,